Women’s Day 2021- 5 Pakistani Women who made it big
This year, the theme for International Women’s Day was #ChooseToChalleng, a reference to the global effort made by women’s allies to challenge the gender-bias norms of the world, highlighting the achievements made by women.
In that spirit, we’ve decided to take a look at five extraordinary Pakistani women who have defied the constraints of a patriarchal world and have accomplished feats of great importance.
1. Malala Yousafzai
Malala already made her mark in history in 2014 when she became the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. And this year, she has decided to continue her efforts towards a more inclusive world by signing a deal with Apple TV.
The international tech giant stated that the partnership would “draw on her ability to inspire people around the world” with Malala set to produce dramas and documentaries focused on women and children.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to support women, young people, writers, and artists in reflecting the world as they see it,” Malala said in regards to the partnership.
2. Azka Ajmal
Azka Ajmal, an Industrial Design graduate from our very own university NUST, blessed us with an extraordinary product. For her final year project, “Pursewit” she designed a sewing machine for the visually impaired and the lower-income strata of the country. This ergonomically designed machine has special features that allow the less abled individuals to operate it with ease.
Azka is the first Pakistani to earn a position amongst the six global finalists for the Lexus Design Award for the year 2020. The design proposals were selected based on their articulation of three key elements: Anticipate, Innovate, and Captivate.
Azka went on to tell her motivation behind creating this product. After a friend had lost her eyesight in an accident, Azka wanted to create something that would empower not only her friend but other visually impaired people out there as well.
She concluded that she aims to make her product soon available in the market and that in doing so, she would be allowed to highlight the demographic that can gain from such initiatives.
3. Nigar Johar Khan
Nigar Johar Khan, the Lieutenant-General of the Pakistan Army, is the first and only female to achieve this prestigious rank. She hails from the small town of Panjpir in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and belongs to the Pakistan Army Medical Corps. She is also the first female to be appointed as the Surgeon General of the Pakistan Army. Currently, she serves at the Commandant Military Hospital in Rawalpindi (CMH).
In 2015, the lieutenant-general was featured in an ISPR video that honored the women in the Pakistan army. “Think of all the Muslim countries, think of all those developing nations. This is the only country that has had female general officers. No one else,” she said in the video.
4. Emma Alam
Emma Alam, a young Pakistani woman, won the 29th World Memory Championship, breaking multiple records and beating over 300 global competitors. She became the 1st Pakistani ever to win the World Memory Championship and has made the country proud in various competitions over the years, winning several trophies and medals.
In the championship, the candidates with the fastest and the sharpest memory skills competed to demonstrate their intellectual power and set new heights of what the human memory can achieve.
Her latest achievement makes her the undisputed World Memory Champion, making the entire nation proud.
5. Zara Naeem
If there is one norm that these women are constantly challenging in Pakistani society, it is the notion that only men deserve an education.
Zara Naeem made the entire nation swell with pride when she had topped the Financial Reporting exam of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) this year.
Zara challenges through her hard work and academic endeavors that girls deserve equal opportunity to achieve their dreams in this world and how education is a tool that can empower women for a greater unified community and nation.
2021 is less than a quarter underway, and yet it has presented us with individuals and moments that have inspired us in every way. There’s still a long road to go before achieving a fair and equitable world, but here’s to hoping 2021 brings us closer to that destination than ever before.
Written by: Ramisha Aqeel and Ibrahim Ibn Abdul-Wajid