As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, it’s important to recognize and celebrate the achievements of Pakistani women who have made significant contributions to the arts, science, and entrepreneurship. From award-winning filmmakers to pioneering scientists and successful entrepreneurs, Pakistani women have shattered glass ceilings and made their mark in traditionally male-dominated industries. In this article, we highlight some of the inspiring success stories of Pakistani women and their remarkable achievements that continue to inspire and empower women around the world.
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is a Pakistani filmmaker, journalist, and activist who has made significant contributions to the world of film and social justice. She is a two-time Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and the first Pakistani to win an Academy Award. Her films highlight social issues such as gender inequality, human rights violations, and women’s empowerment. Her impactful films shed light on women’s struggles in Pakistan and globally, including the issue of acid attacks. Her work led to stricter laws against perpetrators. As an advocate for women’s rights, she founded the Citizens Archive of Pakistan and is a UNDP Ambassador.
Arooj Aftab is a Pakistani-American musician and composer who has made a name for herself in the music industry with her unique blend of traditional Pakistani music and modern experimental sounds. She is the first woman of Pakistani descent to be nominated for a Grammy Award, for her album “Vulture Prince”. It is important to recognize the contributions of women in music, and Arooj Aftab is a shining example of a woman who is breaking barriers and challenging stereotypes in the industry. Her music is a celebration of her Pakistani heritage, and her ability to blend traditional sounds with modern experimental music has earned her critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base.
Dr Nergis Mavalvala
Dr Nergis Mavalvala is a physicist and a professor at MIT, known for her ground-breaking work on gravitational waves. She has made significant contributions to our understanding of the universe through her research on gravitational waves, which has earned her recognition and awards including the MacArthur “genius” grant. However, her success has been accompanied by challenges resulting from her identity as a woman of colour in science. Dr Mavalvala has spoken publicly about the biases and obstacles she has faced and has called for greater diversity in STEM fields. She recognizes that the inclusion of underrepresented minorities and women is critical to advancing scientific progress.
Tasneem Zehra Husain
As one of the few Pakistani women to hold a doctorate in physics and the first female Pakistani string theorist, Tasneem Zehra Husain is a trailblazer in her field. She has contributed to a better understanding of the properties of black holes, as well as the behaviour of particles in the early universe. She is also known for her efforts to promote science education and outreach in Pakistan, particularly for women and girls.
Her achievements have earned her numerous accolades, including the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship, and made Tasneem a source of pride for the country.
Myra Qureshi is a prominent figure in the Pakistani beauty industry, as CEO and co-founder of Conatural, a socially responsible brand that produces natural and organic skincare products. She identified a gap in the market for such products and has worked tirelessly to create a new standard in the industry.
Myra is passionate about promoting awareness about the dangers of toxic chemicals found in cosmetics and aims to empower individuals by providing beneficial beauty solutions. Myra’s dedication has not gone unnoticed, and by identifying and catering to this gap, she has improved the skincare routines of many and introduced products that match the quality of international brands.
Azima Dhanjee is an accomplished entrepreneur and social activist, making waves in the realm of accessibility for the hearing-impaired. As the co-founder and CEO of ConnectHear, her mission is to break down communication barriers and empower individuals with hearing disabilities to more fully engage with the world around them.
With her innovative and inclusive approach, Azima has garnered attention for her commitment to providing an accessible platform for effective communication, serving as an inspiration to both the deaf community and entrepreneurs seeking to make a positive social impact. Her unwavering dedication to creating a more equitable society has earned her widespread recognition and respect as a leader in the field of social entrepreneurship.
These stories serve as a reminder that gender should never be a barrier to success and that with determination and hard work, anything is possible. As we continue to strive for gender equality, let us draw inspiration from these incredible women and work towards creating a world where every woman has the opportunity to realise her dreams.