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Resilient Pakistani women serve key role in society

Update: March, 23/2016 - 09:00
Mountaineering: Samina Baig, first Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest

In honour of  Pakistan Day (March 23), Việt Nam News presents an article written by the Ambassador of Pakistan,  Zaigham Uddin Azam

Resilient Pakistani Women

Pakistani women have always played a key role in improving the economy, social standards, and norms of Pakistan.

Women like Fatima Jinnah, sister of the founder of Pakistan, actively participated in the social movement which brought Pakistan into being. Ms. Benazir Bhutto made Pakistan proud when she became the first female Prime Minister of any Muslim country. She did so twice. Yet superpower countries are still reluctant to have a woman president.

Pakistan is one of the few countries where women hold more than 23 per cent of the seats in legislative Assemblies. This provides our women the right to participate in the lawmaking process of the country. Our women continue to make Pakistan proud by participating in our society this way. And some Pakistani women have recently proven the country a global leader by winning honors in various fields.

The three most  inspirational Pakistani women are:

Malala Yousafzai

Malala is currently the most well-know Pakistani girl in the world. The girl from Swat, who wanted to go to school when girls were banned from attending schools in her troubled region, caught the world’s attention through the blog she wrote for the BBC, under the pseudonym Gul Makai.

She eventually returned to school, despite the ban. But she was shot in the head on her way home from school. Two friends travelling with her in the school van were also injured.

Malala survived, recovered and bounced back. She is now the world’s leading activist for female education in developing countries. Malala strongly believes that “one child, one teacher, one book, and one pen” can change the world. Her message is respected worldwide. And she became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December, 2014.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Journalist, activist and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy made Pakistan proud by bringing home two Oscars for Pakistan. Sharmeen’s documentaries Saving Face (2012) about acid-attack survivors, and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015) about honour killings - both controversial topics - won two Oscars for Best Documentary — Short Subject. Thanks to Sharmeen’s efforts, laws to protect women better are now being drafted in Pakistan.

Sharmeen did her A-Levels at Karachi Grammar School, then attended Smith College (US) for a bachelor’s degree programme. When she returned home to Pakistan, she started writing for various newspapers and embarked on a career in filmmaking. She is one of the few female directors in the world to win two Oscars for non-fiction films.

Sharmeen won an International Emmy Award in 2010 for her documentary Pakistan’s Taliban Generation. Her documentary Saving Face won two Emmy awards at the 34th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards in 2013.

 She was named as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2012. She also received the Hilal-e-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian award in Pakistan.

Samina Khayal Baig

Samina Khayal Baig (born 19 September 1990) is the first Pakistani woman - and the third Pakistani - to climb Mount Everest. She is also the youngest Muslim woman to climb Everest, having done so at the age of 21. And Samina is the first Pakistani woman, and the first Muslim, to climb the seven summits of the world.

Baig comes from Shimsal village in Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. She trained in mountaineering from the age of 15.  Her brother, Mirza Ali, trained her. Baig is a student of the Arts. She began climbing when she was only four years old. Baig has worked as a mountain guide and expedition leader in the Himalayas, in the Hindu Kush, and on the peaks of Karakoram in Pakistan. — VNS



Filmmaking: Sharmeen Chinoy won two Oscars for documentaries on controversial subjects
Female education: Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Photos courtesy of the Embassy of Pakistan

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