Women play an important role in contributing to the betterment of any society. There are a countless number of women in Pakistan who have successfully broken gender stereotypes and inspired others by their accomplishments. With their powerful personas, they have created a positive change in society and have become a role model for everyone.
The importance of gender diversity has also taken priority in many leading companies. Studies have shown that a balanced workforce proves to be more effective.
Quaid-e-Azam, the founder of Pakistan recognised the value of women to society and stated:
No nation can ever be worthy of its existence that cannot take its women along with the men. No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men.
We created a list of 10 powerful female trailblazers in Pakistan who have contributed immensely to their fields. They have served with their heart and soul and left their mark even in traditionally male dominated fields.
Below is a list of 10 women trailblazers in Pakistan
This courageous young woman from the Swat Valley of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2014 at just 17 years of age. One of the youngest woman trailblazers, Malala Yousafzai, has managed to fulfill her dream of getting a higher education even after facing much adversity.
The ‘I am Malala’ author was just 15 years old when she was shot in October 2012 by a Taliban gunman. Despite the trauma, she still remained faithful to her cause and became a women’s right advocate. She had started blogging for BBc Urdu in January 2009 and her content focused on the destruction of over 100 schools for girls. In 2011, Desmond Tutu, South Africa’s archbishop had nominated her for the International Children’s peace prize. She then received Pakistan’s National Peace Award for Youth in the same year.
Today, she is a graduate from one of the most reputable universities in the world, the University of Oxford University, and is leading towards bringing a positive change in Pakistan.
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Malala Yousafzai, 22, is now a graduate from the prestigious Oxford University, UK. She was part of the Dear class of 2020 line up in the YouTube original. She was congratulated by YouTube “Don’t be defined by what you lose in this crisis, but by how you respond to it” was her message as part of the graduation ceremony Photo credit : Pakistan Today #malalayousafzai #womeninpakistan #youtube #classof2020 #oxforduniversity #graduation #university #nobelprize #nobelprizewinner #youngestnobellaureate #wow360pk #pakistan #education
During an interview, she said:
I want to become prime minister of my country,”
A powerhouse who at 35 became the first-ever woman to serve as Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1988 and one of the youngest heads of state in the world. She became the first female leader of a Muslim majority country. A symbol of women empowerment, Benazir Bhutto dedicated her whole life to provide a better lifestyle to women in Pakistan.
She was also the first head of state to give birth in office. Bhutto was 37 when she gave birth to her daughter Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari on January 25, 1990.
Congratulations PM @jacindaardern on the birth of your daughter! Reposting this, relevant as ever, “Benazir Bhutto showed you can be a mother and prime minister” https://t.co/QzKrC4GOfu #Pakistan #NewZealand 🙏
— Bakhtawar B-Zardari (@BakhtawarBZ) June 21, 2018
Even before becoming a Prime Minister, she was an active advocate for women’s rights and encouraged them to take part in politics and the workforce. Her dream was to make Pakistan an exemplary country where women are celebrated each day.
Unfortunately, she was assassinated on 27 th December 2007, just after finishing an election rally in Rawalpindi. The heart-wrenching incident shook the whole country and left everyone teary-eyed.
For her countless efforts, she was also awarded United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights, Prize For Freedom by the Liberal International (1989) and Academy of Achievement (2000).
She also attended Radcliffe college, Harvard University and later Oxford University. She studied philosophy, economics and politics from Lady Margaret Hall and became the first foreign president of the Oxford Union Society.
Samina Khayal Baig
A woman with steel-like stamina, Samina Khayal Baig, is the first Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak in 2013. With her achievement, she busted the myth that being a woman means being a weaker gender and inspired millions of girls to achieve their dreams. In 2014, at the age of 24, she captured all 7 summits. Born and raised in Hunza, Samina urged parents to let their daughters participate in sports and motivate them to become their support system.
In 2018, she was also appointed as the National Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
I was thinking about the women of Pakistan, those who are not allowed to get education, those who are not allowed to do whatever they want to do in their life. I hope that the families will understand that the contribution of women is important and can be more powerful for building a greater country
Her next ambition is to climb the K2 mountain. Although this mountain is not as high as Everest, it is considered to be one of the most dangerous mountains in the world to climb.
Hadiqa Kiani is in the list not just as a singing sensation.She was the first woman in Pakistan to be appointed as Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations in 2010. She has also won numerous awards including the Tamgha – e Imtiaz, Pakistan’s fourth highest civilian award for her contributions to the field of music.
The singer and philanthropist started her career in 1994. She has performed on international platforms including Royal Albert Hall and The Kennedy Center. Moreover, she is also famous as the only Pakistani singer who can sing in various languages; including regional languages like Saraiki, Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, and Braj Bhahsha and international languages such as French.
When asked about her ultimate desire, the Coke Studio singer replied:
My ultimate desire is to keep doing soulful music and to continue representing Pakistan in the best way I can!
Moreover, she often raises voice against child molestation and never shies away from letting others know that it is not ok to make any jokes related to child abuse.
The 40-year old British Muslim, Raffia Arshad, became UK’s first hijab- wearing judge. She recently reminded us to continue fighting for our rights and not let anyone stand in our way.
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British – Pakistani, Raffia Arshad has become the first Muslim hijab-wearing deputy district judge in the UK. She wishes that her position will help “to make sure the sound of diversity is heard loud and clear”. Photo credit : The Independant #women #womenempowerment #womensupportingwomen #womensrights #judge #uk #muslim #womensachievements #trailblazer #pakistani #british #wow360pk #raffiaarshad
She has a career spanning 17 years in law and made history becoming the first ever hijab-wearing woman appointed as a deputy district judge on the Midlands circuit. Yes, you read it right!
“It’s definitely bigger than me, I know this is not about me… but it is particularly important for Muslim women “
During an interview, she revealed:
I was told to not wear my hijab to a scholarship interview in 2001. I refused to change to pursue my dream and became the UK’s first hijab-wearing judge
She also added:
It took a while to get here but I’m so pleased. It’s not just a personal achievement. It’s a huge achievement for anyone from a diverse background.
Well, she is totally a trailblazer for all the young hijabi girls around the world!
Namira Salim will be the first Pakistani woman and person to travel to space on a commercial space liner, Virgin Galactic. Often referred to as the Space Diplomat, she is the Founder of Space Trust, a non-profit organisation that advocates space as the new frontier of peace on Earth.
While talking about her achievement, she said:
Going into space has been a dream of mine since childhood.
She also added:I feel honored. Being the ‘First Pakistani Astronaut’ is the most precious title a Pakistani can have. Space Tourism will create an opportunity for the masses to go to space. This is quite the opposite of government space programs which, at least at the outset, were known for sending a privileged few, typically military pilots, to space. It was always a male candidate for them.
She is also the first citizen of the Pakistan to travel to the North and South Poles and to have skydived from Mount Everest.
Born in Faisalabad, Arfa Karim was only nine years old when she became the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in the WORLD. She instantly became the center of attention for international media. She is also the youngest recipient of the Pride of Performance award in Pakistan and her name was entered in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Her exceptional achievements caught the attention of Bill Gates and he welcomed her and her family to spend a day with him as a token of appreciation. Arfa was also invited as a keynote speaker at the Tech-Ed developers conference by Microsoft which was held in Barcelona.
At the age of 16, Arfa Karim left this world due to a cardiac attack. After her death, the government of Pakistan decided to build a science and technology park after name in Lahore, Pakistan.
Marium Mukhtiar was the first female pilot of the Pakistan Air Force. She embraced martyrdom during a routine training mission.
She was one of the 20 female fighter pilots in Pakistan Air Force (PAF), who started her journey into a traditionally male-dominated field.
She was also awarded Tamgha-e-Basalat postumusly by the Government of Pakistan. It is an operational award given by President of Pakistan to military personnel for acts of valor, courage or devotion while performing their duty her honor. A short film was also aired by ISPR titled ‘Ek Thi Marium’ that features Sanam Baloch as Marium along with Hina Khawaja Bayat and Behroze Sabzwari.
Dr. Maleeha Lodhi served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Britain and the US for 11 years. She was part of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament for four and a half years and was Pakistan’s first female Permanent Representative at the UN. During her term, she actively participated in the United Nations to represent Pakistan in a positive perspective and raised the voice against the atrocities by the Indian Government with regards to Kashmir.
She also successfully arranged the first UN Security Council meeting on the issue of Kashmir after five decades. She worked with dedication to promote a positive image of Pakistan at the international level and received the President’s award for Hilal-e-Imtiaz for Public Service in Pakistan. She is also a writer and editor.
A banker by profession, Sima Kamil became the was the first woman to lead a major commercial Pakistani bank, UBL as the President and CEO.
After securing such a prestigious position, she provided the much-needed message to all the women that the country is finally accepting gender equality at work. She has also introduced a female perspective in policy making in her bank and a secure work environment for all the women employees.
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