Saba Saleem was appointed as Pakistan’s First Female Grid Operating Officer at K-Electric. She was a little upset when she received an appointment letter for the post of Grid Operating Officer in K Electric, a company supplying electricity to Karachi.
Saba Saleem is one of five women appointed to manage grid stations in Electric’s system two weeks ago. It was a job that only men could do before.
A study conducted by V Power and the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program in 2020 revealed that women make up only 4% of the total workforce in Pakistan’s power sector.
Saba Saleem said:
“When I received the appointment letter for this position, I wondered if I could do it. But now I feel that I am fulfilling my responsibilities. “
“It’s not like working at a desk. We have to work very hard and stay active for about eight to nine hours every day.
The power grid is part of an integrated supply network that provides electricity to consumers. Saba Saleem has been posted at Gulshan grid station along with Neelma Nawab and Tobia Khan. The grid station is one of 68 other electric stations that are responsible for supplying electricity to 1.5 crore people.
Other female employees in the company, Sadia Sehar and Alisha Aman Ansari, are serving at the Qayyumabad grid station.
K Electric’s Chief Marketing and Communication Officer Sadia Dada told Arab News that this is the first time in the history of the country that a woman has been appointed as a grid officer in the power sector.
Earlier in 2019, K Electric had also added female meter readers to its company.
Pakistan, which has almost half the population of women in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index 2020, is at the bottom of the list of gender equality, ranking 151st out of 153 countries. 80% of the female population in Pakistan is still not part of the documentary economy.
The newly appointed female grid operators said the recruitment process was not easy. The first hurdle was the reluctance found in their own families and they did not consider women suitable for such technical jobs.
Neelma Hassan said:
‘When I got this opportunity, everyone was upset because before that no one knew that girls could also work in this field because it is a technical field and our work is at the operational level, so My family members also had a different view on this and I had problems with my family regarding my safety.
Neelma Hassan said she finally managed to convince her family that women could join the arts.
Saba Saleem said:
She was proud that she and her colleagues had changed the perception that such roles were not appropriate for women.
‘There is an assumption made here that women cannot work in many fields which closes the doors for them in these fields but as you can see I have to serve here at the grid station I have been. “
“Such stereotypes have reduced employment opportunities for them, but my presence here shows that women are second to none,”
She said. They just need more opportunities. “