Women in Pakistan are now taking up leadership positions in different sectors across the country. Although there is still great room for improvement when it comes to the gender gap index, progress in the right direction is underway. Women have earned their seat at the table rightly with adequate knowledge and skills, and also by making sacrifices and taking tough decisions, only to succeed and set an example. On their way up, they have encountered numerous challenges and have fought them with courage and determination.
International women’s day is celebrated globally every year on the 8th of March. It recognizes and honours the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of powerful women amongst us. This year’s theme set by International Women’s day is #ChoosetoChallenge.
Every woman is aware of the challenges she has to face in this world if she takes a step forward. If she chooses to challenge the norms, gender biases, and stereotypes to the best of her capability, it will lead to positive change, improving the world we live in today and tomorrow. On International women’s day, we celebrate such women and their efforts. So let’s choose to challenge because change will follow.
This year we asked 2 exceptional industry leaders from the Media, Marketing & Advertising industry on the challenges they faced over the years and how they encountered them with confidence. Sara Koraishy took over as CEO of the newly formed JWT | Grey agency in Pakistan in 2019 and became the first female to lead an MNC agency. Seema Jaffer is the CEO of Bond Advertising, a well-established agency that she took over from her father.
Sara Koraishy, CEO of JWT
I think they’re different kinds of challenges. For me there were business challenges too. When I took over the role as the first female leading an MNC agency, it was exciting but it also comes with its fears and its own set of baggage. However, I think that there’s been a lot of support, both locally and at a regional level. The learning curve was challenging, leading a business where you are responsible for growth as well as delivery on the bottom line. When you have the responsibility of a hundred or so employees, it does keeps you up at night.
Sara is positive about the challenges she has faced
I’m happy to say that it’s been a really good transition in the last two years and one that has led to a lot of personal growth as well. Personal challenges came in at the same time with managing a home along with an agency. I think, for me it’s wonderful when I hear my ten-year-old son telling his teacher in his zoom class, very proudly, that my mom’s a CEO. That for me is something that I’m very happy with and especially that he has a female role model that he is proud of and will hopefully carry through his life – that will be amazing personally for me.
Seema Jaffer, CEO of Bond Advertising
So I think one challenge that was also a blessing, was inheriting a legacy. I got a business that was run for many years by my father successfully. It was a challenge because it was something that I wanted to build on but also make the brand, the Bond brand, something that resonated with me as well. Over the years, I think I have succeeded. It takes time as it was very much my father’s baby, but you know he’s also passed on the baton. So coming into a running agency, I’ve managed to carve out for myself a place of leadership bringing in my style into the culture.
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