The Pakistan Professional Women in Pest Management (PPWIPM) held its inaugural meeting, bringing together 42 women who work in the Pakistani pest management industry and in related sectors.
Ayesha Azam, an entomologist for Urban Pest Management Pakistan (UPM), reached out to Allison Allen of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) in early October 2019 to begin the process of establishing a local PWIPM chapter in Pakistan. Azam now heads the PPWIPM.
Women in pest management face unique challenges in Pakistan. For one, only a few universities in Pakistan teach entomology, and they do not have specializations focusing specifically on urban pests and effective management, Azam explains.
“The urban pest management industry in Pakistan is in the developing phase,” says Azam. “Hiring of entomologist women in the urban pest management industry just seemed to start two to three years before. … When I joined UPM back in April 2018, I and my colleague Ms. Hadia [Maqsood] were the first ones who visited the customer site for inspection and gap analysis, and that was not a good experience at first, though with the interest and great support of my CEO Ajmal Hussain Bajwa and some industry professionals, it goes smoothly with great potential in the future.”
The goal for this initial meeting was to gather women from multiple sectors to strengthen the pest management industry in Pakistan and support women’s involvement. Representatives from the chemicals industry, academia and other sectors like the food safety and restaurant industries attended.
The agenda consisted of presentations and a panel discussion focusing on the importance of empowering and training women in the pest management industry.
“We would like to thank all the research students, academia and professionals from the food manufacturing, retail and pest management industries who made this event so inspirational and successful,” says Azam. “We also express gratitude to our special guests of honor from Lahore College for Women University, McDonald’s Pakistan, BASF, METRO Cash & Carry Pakistan, Punjab Food Authority, KFC Pakistan and our PMP family in Pakistan for your support, encouragement and participation, especially Urban Pest Management Pakistan who provided us a platform and supported us to set this incredible and resourceful meeting.”
The PWIPM encourages the establishment of local networks, whether in U.S. states or other countries, through a quarterly networking call and additional resources for women interested in leading local groups and promoting their events on social media, explains Allen.
The event in Pakistan marked the strongest start of any local PWIPM network to date, according to the NPMA.
“I am very proud of this group of amazing women and congratulate them for the high participation at this meeting in Pakistan,” says CEO of NPMA Dominique Stumpf. “We look forward to collaborating with this new PWIPM network on their initiatives and for the betterment of the pest management industry.”
The meeting was sponsored by UPM.
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