K-Electric have been promoting greater economic empowerment and inclusion for women through a series of initiatives.
Recently, they organised a mega-event to honour ‘women of steel’ in the company for their contribution towards changing Pakistan's energy sector. The event also served as a graduation ceremony for almost 100 ‘Women on Wheels’ – a partnership between K-Electric and the Salman Sufi Foundation to create affordable mobility options for women – who have completed training on operating and maintaining motorcycles; of which 57 have a motorcycle driving license (facilitated by DIG Karachi Traffic Police and his team).
Another K-Electric programme that has garnered popularity over the years is Roshni Baji, launched in February 2021 to “address the challenge of electrical safety incidents in the underdeveloped parts of Karachi,” as per Imran Rana, Director of Communications, K-Electric.
“A significant portion of our customer base, in Karachi’s densely populated areas, is female homemakers, and previously cultural norms prevented KE from reaching out to them to educate them on the safe use of electricity within their homes. Roshni Baji was conceived to help us bridge this gap while empowering women and driving a grassroots transformation of our communities,” explains Rana.
The program inducted over 100 women, known as ‘Roshni Bajis’, from a diverse spectrum of ethnicities, educational backgrounds, and ages, who have collectively reached over 250,000 households to raise awareness about general and electrical safety, rain safety, power theft hazards, and energy conservation – winning this program a prestigious S&P Global Platts Energy Award.
Roshni Bajis are “equipped with various skill sets, such as interpersonal, digital, and financial management as well as operating and maintaining motorcycles to increase their mobility. They are also taught self-defence through martial arts training.”
Furthermore, 40 women have been trained and graduated as Pakistan's ‘First Female Electricians’. These trainees can successfully conduct complete internal wiring of a single-phase supply (of up to 5kW from electric meters) to the distribution board of a residence and calculate the load and energy consumption of appliances to ensure that the electricity supply inside homes is safe and reliable. They are also provided tools to deal with different kinds of electrical work to facilitate their journey as electricians.
“This is an invaluable skill set which is enabling these women to become independent. Some have also gone out to use these skills to establish secondary revenue streams, giving them the opportunity to become pillars of support for their families."
The fact that the energy sector has only four percent women in its entire workforce shows that even in recent times, jobs in the energy sector are extremely gendered. In addition to all these initiatives, K-Electric is breaking the bias in the workforce by giving women the opportunity to become Female Meter Data Maintenance Officers (MDMOs) and Grid Operating Officers (GOOs).
Taniya Hasan is a content marketer