Dr Shehla Javed Akram, the Founder President of the Women Chamber of Commerce Pakistan, has been appointed as High Commissioner for Pakistan. High Commissioner Akram represents Pakistan in the Global Woman Leaders Committee of the Grand Assembly of the World Business Angels Investment Forum.
Dr Shehla Javed Akram is a successful woman entrepreneur in Pakistan. She was a pioneer in the field of healthcare, launching Pakistan’s first hospital for acute medical care. She then broke into the traditionally male-dominated sector by setting up a pharmaceutical industry and became the CEO of a real estate development company, JS Developers. In the public sector, Dr Akram struggled for seven years to get permission for establishing a separate Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Pakistan. This innovative idea came to her after she won, as executive member, the LCCI election on open merit in 2002. It was then that she realized that women entrepreneurs could not excel in a male-dominated chamber because of their own inhibitions, and that women-specific products needed a more dedicated platform. Finally, the national assembly passed a bill that would allow women’s chambers at provincial, divisional and district levels. Dr Akram thus became the founder president of the WCCI in Pakistan. As a result, from a single seat in 2002, representation has increased by 172% to date. This increased representation has also encouraged SME policymakers to define better gender-specific policies, along with improved legislation for the status of women. Under her leadership, the WCCI has become internationally recognized. Dr Akram became the First Vice President of the Federation of Chambers. She also sits on the boards of PAMCO, The Skill Development Council in Punjab, and the Punjab Council on the Status of Women and she is an Ambassador for International Women (OPS). She was also recently honoured with the Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah Award.