Empowering women leaders in AML / CFT May 17, 2024

Gender disparity remains a significant challenge in various professional fields, including the critical areas of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT). Despite the increasing recognition of the importance of diversity, women continue to be underrepresented in leadership positions within these sectors. The low ratio of women leaders in AML/CFT not only reflects broader societal inequities but also hinders the potential for innovative solutions and comprehensive strategies in combating financial crimes.




In response to this pressing issue, the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) in collaboration with UNODC & NACTA recently hosted a landmark event titled the “Conference on Empowering Women Leaders in AML/CFT.” The financial support was provided by the Embassy of Denmark. This significant gathering brought together influential leaders and professionals dedicated to enhancing the role of women in AML/CFT.


The conference was graced by the presence of several distinguished guests, including Mr. Saleem Ullah, Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Ms. Lubna Farooq Malik, Director General of FMU, Ms. Saleh Zakir Sheikh, Director General (M&E) of NACTA, and Mr. Arslan Zaidi, Program Advisor at UNODC. Their participation underscored the critical importance of this initiative and highlighted the collective effort to promote gender diversity in these vital fields.




The event featured two essential sessions focused on key aspects of women’s leadership in AML/CFT. The first session, “Breaking Barriers: Women’s Leadership in AML/CFT,” addressed the challenges and opportunities for women in these fields, emphasizing the importance of overcoming barriers and fostering leadership.



The second session, “Recruitment and Development of Women Leaders in AML/CFT,” concentrated on strategies for attracting, retaining, and nurturing female talent in leadership roles. These sessions provided a dynamic platform for discussing the unique challenges women face in AML/CFT and exploring strategies to create a more inclusive environment.


Esteemed female panelists who hold leadership positions in their respective organizations enriched the conference with their insights and experiences. The panel included Ms. Khalida Habib from SECP, Ms. Sumera Azam from FIA, Ms. Sumera Baloch from FMU, Ms. Noureen Merchant from ICAP, Ms. Sadaf Baqir from SBP, Ms. Irum Saba from IBA, Ms. Sarah Tariq from Deutsche Bank AG Pakistan, and Ms. Mashmooma Zehra Majeed from MUFAP. Their contributions highlighted the diverse perspectives and expertise that women bring to the AML/CFT sectors, inspiring attendees with their stories of leadership and success.

The conference successfully achieved its goal of empowering and supporting young female aspirants in AML/CFT. With almost 160 female participants from various sectors such as banking, regulatory bodies, law enforcement, and academia, the event was a resounding success. The high level of participation and engagement demonstrated the growing interest and commitment to fostering female leadership in these areas.



A notable highlight of the conference was the dedication and hard work of Ms. Sumera Baloch, Head of Analysis Division at FMU, and her team. Their efforts ensured the seamless execution of this event. Ms. Baloch’s leadership and the diligent work of her team were pivotal in bringing this important event to fruition.


The success of the conference was made possible through the invaluable support and collaboration of the Embassy of Denmark in Islamabad, UNODC, and NACTA. Their contributions were instrumental in the event’s outstanding execution and impact. The collaborative efforts of these organizations demonstrated the power of partnerships in achieving shared goals and advancing gender diversity in leadership.



The “Conference on Empowering Women Leaders in AML/CFT” marked a significant step towards fostering female leadership in critical fields. By providing a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences, FMU has empowered current leaders and inspired the next generation of women leaders in AML/CFT. The event’s success reflects a broader commitment to creating an inclusive and supportive environment where women can thrive and lead.


As FMU continues to champion initiatives that promote gender diversity and leadership, we look forward to more events and programs aimed at empowering women and driving progress in the AML/CFT sectors. The positive impact of this conference will undoubtedly resonate for years to come, inspiring continued efforts to break barriers and create opportunities for women in leadership roles.