These inspiring Pakistani women are champions all year round.
We celebrate Women’s day on the 8th of March every year to acknowledge the social, political, and economical achievements of women all around the world, while also campaigning towards gender equality.
This year’s Women’s day theme by the UN is: Think equal, build smart, innovate for change. What better way to do that than take inspiration from the women of our country who have taken steps to help build a better country for us? Let’s take a look:
“Everything is a risk in Pakistan: If you defend women, it’s a risk. If you defend non-Muslims it’s a risk. If you discuss religion, it’s a risk. But you can’t really sit there like a vegetable in your own society. And I’m committed to that society and I feel I need to turn around and speak as I should.”
A human right’s lawyer, co-founder and co-chair of human right’s Commission of Pakistan, Asma Jahangir even fought for the restoration of democracy during the martial law of General Zia. Having received numerous awards for her accomplishments, Asma Jahangir was never afraid to speak up against foul play.
“The concept of being a man or a woman doesn’t cross my mind. I’m neither on stage, I’m a vehicle on stage for passion.”
One of the greatest sufi legends, Abida Parveen’s voice still puts listeners into a trance whenever she sings. She crosses all language barriers as she beautifully recites the poetries of saints. Breaking all barriers, Abida Parveen, the recipient of numerous accolades, has made her title internationally.
“I could not find a hero in my life, so I became one.”
Muniba Mazari was paralyzed after a serious car accident. Unable to walk again or give birth, Muniba’s optimism helped her emerge as not only a motivational speaker, but also the National Ambassador for UN Women Pakistan. Widely known as the ‘Iron Lady of Pakistan’, Muniba Mazari is now an inspiration to millions around the globe.
“As well as doing a job for my country, I’m changing the thoughts of people.”
Hailing from Bahawalpur, Ayesha Farooq is the first and only female fighter pilot. Of six female fighter pilots, she is the only one qualified for combat and to fly sorties along the border. Ayesha Farooq has made history by becoming the first woman assigned to one of Pakistan’s front-line dogfighting squadrons.
“A people inspired by democracy, human rights and economic opportunity will turn their back decisively against extremism.”
Benazir Bhutto was the first woman to head a democratic government in a muskim majority nation. The first female Prime Minister of Pakistan, she challenged stereotypes one day in office at a time. Benzair Bhutto was assassinated in 2007, but continues to live in the hearts of her supporters.
Sharmeen Obaid Chinnoy
“What good is my parents’ wealth and education and upbringing if I’m not contributing to the world?”
Two-time Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinnoy is known worldwide for her creative film-making skills. Her bold short films have helped spread awareness about the injustices faced by women, especially in rural areas, of Pakistan.
“A successful women is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at her.”
23 year old, Samina Baig, is an high-altitude climber who became the first Pakistani woman to climb all seven of the highest peaks round the world. Earlier last year, Samina was also named Pakistan’s National Goodwill Ambassador by UNDP.
“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”
Known internationally for standing strong and brave against terrorism, Malala is a spokesperson for education. She received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, and has set up the Malala Fund that campaigns for the right of every girl to receive 12 years of safe and quality education.
“If we set our expectations according to hard realities, we would not end up being disappointed.”
Maleeha Lodhi is the first women to hold the position of Pakistan’s Representative to the United Nations. She is also regarded as the first news editor in Asia, and received the Hilal-i-Imtiaz award in 2002.
“Remember it is women who can mould the character of the youth of the nation.”
Sister of Pakistan’s founder, Jinnah, Fatima Jinnah is regarded as one of the instrumental figures in securing the rights of women across Pakistan. She established the All Pakistan Women Association after 1947, which was vital for the settlement of women in the new country, as well as promoting their civil rights.
“All I know is that whatever I do, it needs to ignite in me a passion, an interest, a sense of achievement, of pleasure – a need that goes beyond mere monetary benefit.”
Jehan Ara is a well-known name in Pakistan’s technology industry. She is the President one of the largest tech associations in the country called P@SHA. Alongside this, she is a strong supporter of startups and entrepreneurship. Her organization is closely linked to a number of outreach programs and initiatives.
These women overcame stereotypes, challenged the system, and used their motivation to succeed in what they were passionate about. More power to you ladies!
Cover image via: veryfilmi.com / hanifbhatti.com