It is ironic yet inspiring to see how women continue to strengthen our society even though they are perceived to be fragile and sensitive. They create masterpieces in the form of children, businesses and families because they know how to maintain a professional and personal equilibrium.
Here are some examples of such women:
- Hajra Khan
Hajra Khan, a renowned footballer hailing from Karachi is the captain of the Pakistan women’s national football team. Hajra made her debut at the age of 14 by playing for Diya Women Football Club and managed to bag the award for the top scorer in the tournament. Her pertinacious spirit and praiseworthy skills have won her numerous accolades. She was hailed as the champion in South Asian Beach Games that were held in Sri Lanka in 2011.
Khan is the only sportswoman in the history of Pakistan’s women football to have recorded 100 goals in her club career. The young protege wants to promote women’s sports in a country that is plagued by gender-specific stereotypes. We can imagine how difficult it must be to balance these sports commitments with her under- graduate studies.
- Samina Peerzada
Samina Peerzada, the acting veteran with no expiry date is still as energetic and driven as she was at the start of her career twenty years back. This seasoned actress did Pakistan’s creative industry a favour by experimenting with a multitude of genres. Commencing her career in 1982, she has shifted gears from modeling to acting to production. Known for popular dramas like ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’ and ‘Meri Zaat Zarr-e-Benishan’, her work has garnered critical acclaim from all over the world.
Peerzada has taken many bold steps in her career like undertaking the daunting task of changing the face of our film industry. She delivered on that promise with the release of her debut directorial venture, Inteha that bagged nine national awards. Additionally, she was conferred with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Beyond the Mango Film Festival held in Bradford, UK, in 2013. Later she went on to bag the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Television at the third Hum TV awards. It is no wonder Pond’s has been celebrating her achievements for the past few years through its Pond’s Miracle Journey forum.
- Maheen Kardar
Maheen Kardar and Kamiar Rokni launched their own exclusive clothing label called Karma in 2001. The fashion house carved a niche for itself in Lahore at a really competitive time when the likes of HSY and Nomi Ansari had a monopoly over the fashion industry. However, a few years later when Rokni said goodbye to the brand, Kardar had to shoulder the responsibility of managing the brand. She appears to be resurfacing from this entrepreneurial crisis with the launch Karma Princess, the new Karma line for girls under 12 years.
Kardar’s brand has won the coveted Lux Style Award 3 times in the past 5 years including the best Women’s Wear for Karma Couture in Karachi and Dubai and the best Prêt Wear for Karma Pink in Malaysia in 2007. When asked about her success, she said that she believes everybody has to get through a rough patch once in a while but what matters is the struggle you put up in the face of such adversities.
- Roshaneh Zafar
Roshaneh Zafar, an economist, is the founder and Managing Director of ‘Kashf Foundation’. Kashf foundation is the first specialised micro-finance organisation in Pakistan that educates and funds the underprivileged women working in villages, in order to improve their financial condition. Zafar believes that micro-credit programs are an important asset that can render economic opportunities for women in rural settings. Though this program women can improve the economic status of their families by gaining access to business loans and obtaining micro-insurance services in order to reduce financial risk exposure.
Before embarking on the Kashf initiative, Zafar had worked at the World Bank and was a co-founder of Bedari, an intervention crisis center, which provides counselling and other services to women in Islamabad. She was awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian award, by the President of Pakistan for her work in the field of development and women’s empowerment. Moreover, in 2017, Forbes, a U.S. business magazine, ranked Kashf foundation 34th on its list of the world’s top 50 micro-finance institutions in 2007.
- Vaneeza Ahmed
Vaneeza Ahmed, popularly known as Vinnie, is a supermodel who has proved time and again that sheer hard work can make you irreplaceable in any field. She graced Pakistan’s billboards, conquered ramps and graced international magazines back when people looked down on modeling as a career. This ex-model turned show director and choreographer was the first Pakistani to walk the ramp for internationally renowned designers like Donna Karan and Calvin Klein.
It is inspiring to see the amount of dedication she gives to any task she undertakes, be it professional or personal. With an initial interest in medicine and a degree in Psychology, modeling was just a hobby for her at one time. But then Vaneeza went on to act in popular shows like Marina Khan’s ‘Tum Hi Tau Ho’, engendered the lawn fever in Pakistanis with her brand Vlawn and headed the fashion channel style 360. Currently she has given up modeling to give time to her family.
- Hibah Rahmani
Hiba Rahmani,a scientist by profession, works as Avionics and Flight Control Engineer at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre (KSC) in the Engineering and Technology Directorate. Rahmani supports NASA’s Launch Services Program by working on expendable vehicles such as the Pegasus XL and Falcon 9. Each time she monitors launch vehicle testing and performs data reviews, she challenges the deeply entrenched notion that women can not work with figures.
She was born in Pakistan but was raised in Kuwait and later went to the United States of America to pursue her engineering education. Prior to working at NASA, Rahmani was employed at Boeing Company (KSC), where she developed the passion to become an astronaut. In addition to her NASA duties, she relishes volunteering for public affair activities and guiding fledgling scholars at school.