LAHORE (Ali Zain) – While world is marking International Women’s Day on Tuesday, Pakistan is all set to announce its first ever National Women Empowerment Policy with ‘Pledge For Parity’ theme.
Pakistan’s move to accept the importance of female gender is not new. It came into being as result of a movement in which women like Fatima Jinnah actively participated.
Later on, Benazir Bhutto made Pakistan proud by becoming first female Prime Minister of any Muslim country. She did it twice while countries like United States are still reluctant to have a woman as president.
Additionally Pakistan is one of the few countries where women have a fixed number of seats in legislation assemblies, which provides them with a due right to participate in the law making process of country.
This way our women continue to make Pakistan proud and some of them have recently proved the country a global leader by winning honors in different fields. Top ten of these inspirational women are as following:
1- Muniba Mazari
Muniba Mazari is Pakistan’s only wheel chair-bound TV anchor, who has been included in Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30 list” for 2016. She originally hails from Rahim Yar Khan. Mazari has been in a wheelchair for over the last seven years after a car accident left her with spinal cord injury in 2007 at the age of 21.
She has earned a Bachelors degree in Fine art and also established her brand Muniba’s Canvas with the slogan “Let Your Walls Wear Colors.” She has been representing the voice of women, men, girls and boys across Pakistan on important issues of gender inequalities, discrimination and determination not to give up and win against the odds.
In December 2015, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women) named Muniba Mazari as Pakistan’s first female Goodwill Ambassador.
2- Shazia Perveen
Shazia Perveen is Pakistan’s first firefighter, who joined Rescue 1122 in 2010 at the age of 25. She belongs to Vehari District in Punjab.
Having managed to wriggle into a world of men, Perveen thinks that that women can tackle any job and take up any profession of their choice.
“At the outset, people would laugh at me when they saw me working with male workers. But afterwards, when I saved their precious properties during fires, they started admiring me,” Perveen said in an interview.
3- Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is Pakistan-Canadian two-times Oscar winner for documentaries based on real stories from Pakistan. She got education from United States but her soul remains stuck in Pakistan’s crucial circumstances.
She started film-making career in 2012 with documentary “Terror’s Children”. Later her documentaries “Saving Face” and “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” won academy awards.
Pakistan honored her with Hilal-e-Imtiaz award while Times magazine listed her among world’s 100 influential women in 2012. She has won a number of other awards including Emmy Award, One World Media and SAARC Film Awards.
4- Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai, the globally known child rights activist, has made us proud many times be it thorough winning Nobel Prize for Peace or her address to United Nations General Assembly.
Malala originally hails from Malakand district of Pakistan. She started her writing career as a student Taliban insurgents took over Sawat valley and shut down all schools.
Later after Pakistan army cleared the area from Taliban fighter, a group of militants attacked Malala on her way to school. Since then she has moved to United Kingdom along with her family. However she continues to serve Pakistan and the whole world through establishment of schools via Malala Fund.
5- Fiza Farhan
Fiza Farhan is a Pakistani entrepreneur in power sector who is working for promotion of Green Energy in the country. She is CEO of Buksh Foundation and director of Buksh Energy. She was also part of the ’30 under 30’ list by Forbes magazine for Social Entrepreneurs in 2015.
She has also been appointed as a member of the United Nations body, dedicated to the economic empowerment of women. She was elected as a member of the first ever High-Level Panel of the UN Secretary-General on Women’s Economic Empowerment.
As a member of the panel, Fiza will join leaders of World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund, UN Women as well as several other eminent gender and equality actors. She will also establish connection with economics experts, academics, trade union leaders, businesses and government representatives from across the world.
6- Nergis Mavalvala
Nergis Mavalvala is Pakistani-American astrophysicist who was part of a group of scientists which proved existence of gravitational for the first time in human history.
She originally hails from Karachi and her family moved to United States in 1980s. She got her early education from Convent of Jesus and Mary, Karachi.
In United States she has been associated with LIGO project at MIT. Part of Mavalvala’s work also focused on the extension of laser cooling techniques to optically cool and trap more and more massive objects to enable observation of quantum phenomena in macroscopic objects.
7- Samina Baig
Samina Baig is Pakistan’s globally known mountaineer who hoisted Pakistani flag at mount Everest at the young age of 21. She is also the first ever Pakistani woman and the first Muslim to climb the seven summits.
She belongs to Hunza valley of Gilgit Baltistan and started mountaineering along with her brother when she was only 15.
A documentary film “Beyond the Heights” has also been produced to feature her expedition to Mount Everest.
Zenith Irfan is first Pakistani woman who completed a journey through the Kashmir belt via motorcycle, showing the world that how peaceful Pakistan has been.
The 20-year-old, inspired by the dream of her deceased father who “wanted to travel the world on a bike”, hails from Lahore and she traveled through Kashmir, riding different motorcycle models including Honda 125, Honda CD -70 and Suzuki GS-150.
Irfan said she did not come across any resistance when she decided to make this journey. “My mother is a very liberal woman. In fact, she was the one who motivated and pushed me to ride a motorcycle,” said the braveheart.
9- Twinkle Sohail
Twinkle Sohail is another Pakistani female to make her country proud. She is a professional powerlifter who won the gold medal in the 2015 Asian Bench-Press Powerlifting Championship held in Muscat, Oman.
The woman in her early 20s did it while other Pakistani men participants at the event in Muscat failed to do so.
Twinkle Sohail won the gold medal in 57kg powerlifter category.
10- Namira Saleem
Namira Saleem became the first Pakistani, man or woman, to reach North and South Poles when she achieved this distinction in 2008.
She also holds the title of being the first Asian and first Pakistani to skydive over Mount Everest during the historic First Everest Skydives project in 2008.
She is also going to be the first Pakistani to travel into Space when the first commercial space flight by Virgin Galactic takes off.