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CPEC promises better future for Pakistan’s women workers

CPEC promises better future for Pakistan’s women workers

ISLAMABAD: Ambreen Shah was confident of a better future when she joined the Chinese company working on a power project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Southwest Pakistan’s Balochistan province.

Shah joined the China Power Hub Generation Company (CPHGC) as head of the legal department and was later promoted to vice president for Legal and Corporate Affairs for her hard work and expertise.

Shah told Xinhua that working in the Chinese company not only enabled her to excel, but also allowed her, a mother, to strike a better balance between her work and personal life than in a transnational company where she was previously employed.

“Their differences are from the Chinese culture. So, this is what makes it easy to work with them because they want to understand others and they want to adjust to that too,” Shah added.

The power plant project with an estimated cost of 2 billion U.S. dollars and cutting-edge environmentally-friendly technology is expected to generate enough electricity to meet the needs of some 4 million households. Shah said over 30 percent of the employees at CPHGC are women, some of them in important positions.

“There is absolutely no gender discrimination by (the) Chinese when they hire workers. They’d rather look at qualifications and competence levels,” said Shah.

For her and many other Pakistani women, the CPEC provides an opportunity for them to learn skills and values which will not only help them excel in work, but also help them become stronger in facing challenges in life.

CPEC, a corridor linking Pakistan’s Karachi and northwestern Peshawar and running through the populous provinces of Punjab and Sindh, highlights energy, transport, industrial cooperation and Gwadar port construction. Seeking to expand cooperation to such sectors as finance, science and technology, education, poverty alleviation and urban planning, the corridor is a major pilot project under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

“The women who are working here, have not just gained knowledge and expertise on the technical side of the project management, but they have also learned teamwork, … about how to get more support from each other and to provide more support. I think this is something that I really like about CPEC projects. They make you strong,” Shah said.