The people who know me, know how deeply interested I am in women and their empowerment, their courage and resilience, their emotional strength, their intellect and empathy. The ones who know me well understand that I am committed to nurturing their potential and helping them grow, to encourage them to pursue their dreams.
However, we live in a world where women are still objectified and victimized; questioned and criticized; considered second best and held back from succeeding; and ostracized for non-conforming. We reside in a world where internationally, women are still only 39.4 percent of the work force, 8 percent in top executive positions, and 22.8 percent national parliamentarians. In a country like Pakistan, with a population of approximately 200 million people, half of which are women, these numbers are 15.8 percent, 3 percent (in management positions), and 17 percentrespectively.
Yet, we have great examples of pioneering leaders such as Shamim Akhtar,the first female truck driver; Ayesha Farooq, the first combat pilot of Pakistan; and Namira Salim, the first Pakistani to reach the North and South Poles. Then there are others who are supporting women’s choices and protecting their rights, such as Shaila Abdullah, an award winning author writing about Pakistani women struggling to find their individualities, and Fouzia Saeed, social activist, gender specialist and founder of the first women’s crisis center in Pakistan. Or the ones who have firmly placed us on the map of the world; such as Arfa Kareem, the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional; Malala Yousufzai, youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner; Tehmina Janjua, the first female Foreign Secretary; Tasneem Zehra Husain, Pakistan’s first female string theorist; and Benazir Bhutto, the first female Prime Minister in the entire Muslim world.
One may argue that these women leaders are rarer than diamonds — I beg to differ! It took me more than an hour to select the ones I wanted to mention in this blog post alone. We definitely have talented females in our folds. However, I believe we need to do more to celebrate the women who have made it despite the odds and to share their stories of inspiration with other people, both men and women. Also, for me, some of these women are the icing on the cake — the rest of the batter needs to be highlighted too. I believe it is critical to showcase female role models who are perhaps not famous nationally or internationally, but have equally motivational stories to tell. Therefore, we at Epiphany are launching our brand new initiative on women empowerment: Smashing It! A Tribute to Women Pioneers & Leaders.
Smashing It! is all about introducing women who have established themselves, are worthy role models and have stories as captivating as anyone’s. They are researchers and writers, teachers and artists, novelists and sportswomen, journalists and technologists. Some of them are self-employed, some are working professionals, but what they have in common is their commitment to themselves. They are all women who have risen despite the odds or perhaps, because of them. They have found it in themselves to smash the glass ceiling and are carving new frontiers!
I am absolutely delighted to announce that the first talk with Dr. Asma A. Qureshi will be taking place on Thursday, July 6, 2017. Hailing from an ordinary middle class background, with limited financial resources and little focus towards education, Dr. Asma A. Qureshi successfullysmashed the glass ceiling by becoming the first PhD in her family from the prestigious University of Queensland, Australia. Recognized for her professional excellence in marketing, she is also a certified Chartered Marketer, a status awarded to extremely experienced and qualified marketing professionals.
Her work experience spans 15 years across 3 continents, and she is currently working as a Doctoral Researcher in consumer decision behavior. Her specialities include market data research, data sciences, data analysis, digital marketing and quantitative marketing. Please register here and join us in celebrating her.