International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on the 8th of March each year – a day to honor and pay tribute to all women and celebrate their success, to acknowledge and support movements dedicated to empowering young girls, to educate the masses about the struggles and to express our love and appreciation to our mothers, sisters and daughters. The theme for International Women’s Day 2019, is Balance for Better which will focus on innovative ways in which countries can progress and make sure that women play a role in the development of the society.
Over the years, the women of Pakistan have distinguished themselves and made a mark in almost every walk of life. They have demonstrated that given the opportunity they can break the glass ceiling and have an impact, not only in Pakistan, but around the world.
From the first elected female head of government in the Islamic world to the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Pakistan’s trailblazing women have shown that the sky is the limit when they put their minds to it.
The vision of our country’s founding fathers, a Constitution that guarantees equal rights for all its citizens, including women, the ethos of an ancient egalitarian civilization and the teachings of our religion have all combined to provide the enabling platform on which our women have distinguished themselves.
I have no doubt that women in Pakistan will continue to hold up ‘half the sky’ and prove to be equal partners in our collective journey towards peace, development and prosperity.
— Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations
Women of Pakistan should start believing in themselves and their abilities — remember that you’re second to none. Women’s Day is a celebration of the continued struggle for emancipation from economic and secondary social status, a day to embed gender equality into our nation and promote equality in employment, and human rights for women and girls in the community – as members of the society, in the work place and at home. At this point in history, there is dire need for Pakistan to engage its women in economic activity to bring forth real change.
— Dr. Sania Nishtar, Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and Chairperson Poverty Alleviation Council
Celebrating Women’s Day is a way of feeling and expressing gratitude to each and every woman in our life, be it personal or professional. Women make up more than half of worlds’ population but are impacted by poverty, cultural barriers, discrimination, crises, lack of education, lack of health care and lack of empowerment and we fail to notice that women work harder to break barriers and build bridges that support greater education, better health and career advancement along with societal development. International Women’s Day is a reminder for all of us to listen closely to all the women — a beacon of light — who have found their place and/or are struggling to do so.
Empowered women of Hilal for Her are working on a platform and playing an active role inspiring the women of Pakistan in these changing times and have designed Her to be the voice of Pakistani women by celebrating their achievements.
— Major General Nigar Johar Khan
Women of Pakistan are the shining stars of the country. They are born with an incredible gift to endure all hardships and succeed, not only in their profession but at home as well. Yes, it is unfortunate that many women are not appreciated for the struggles they surpass but surely, times are changing and the world is witnessing a positive growth as many young Pakistani women are emerging successful. As a journalist I want to become an influencer by becoming a voice and showing the world that women of Pakistan are a significant part of the society. I have fond childhood memories of women in my village, who used to work along-side men and also looked after their families as well; their roles were not restricted to just being a mother or a wife but she shared the duties of the household equally. As a Pakistani Women, I want to pursue my career by sharing stories about the unsung heroes of Pakistan such as Zahida Kazmi, the first female taxi driver. I also believe that women have worked shoulder to shoulder with men, towards the progress of Pakistan and will continue to do so. Discrimination exists everywhere and at every level of the society, however, fighting discrimination should not be the aim, it will end on its own when people are aware and are educated enough to realize that men and women are branches of the same tree and have different yet equally important roles to play. I appreciate the un-conventional take which Hilal for Her has pursued, I acknowledge the fact that women should not be compartmentalized, I hope that the magazine continues to educate Pakistani men and women on more intellectual content such as policy making, defence related issues, internal and foreign policy to name a few.
— Asma Shirazi, Journalist
Women played a significant role in the Pakistan Movement. After independence, Quaid-i-Azam asked them to participate in the development of Pakistan. Inspired by his message, women have tried their best to contribute as agents of change. Today, we have seventy-one universities where the strength of female students is higher than male students. My hopes and aspirations for these Pakistani women are that after completing their education, they will play a positive role in Pakistan.
The Pakistani government is an equal opportunity employer; but women need to shatter the glass ceiling which prevents them from reaching top positions. The Family Courts Act, 1964 employs at least one female judge at every district level. In 1994 elevation of five women as High Court judges further motivated women to join this profession. In 2018, Syeda Tahira Safdar became the first female Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court and she will become the first female judge of the Supreme Court in 2019, Insha´Allah. Pakistani women are motivators and they encourage others to take up professional education to develop skills and to earn so that they can improve the standards of living of their own families.
— Justice (retired) Nasira Javed Iqbal
Kofi Annan has rightly said that, “Gender equality is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.” Pakistani women have made their mark in politics, science, medicine, art, film, etc. We need their active participation in Pakistan's growth and prosperity if we are to achieve the goal of sustainable development. I will continue to support women to access their rights and to remove discrimination against them. Hilal for Her is playing an important role in highlighting accomplished female role models, not only in the military but also in other professions. It should continue to inspire women of Pakistan.
— Fauzia Viqar, Chairperson Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW)
I look forward to the day when women will no longer be second class citizens, the day when women’s capacity to think constructively, to work productively and to create innovatively will be acknowledged for the richness it brings to Pakistan. I look forward to the time when the world will no longer signify Pakistani women as victims of violence. Finally, on that day I will be able to say that women are truly half the earth and half the sky.
— Feryal Ali Gauhar, United Nation's Goodwill Ambassador
Pakistani women are way ahead of others in resilience, endurance and perseverance and have always elevated Pakistani flag in international arena. The youngest Microsoft winner and child prodigy, Arfa Kareem to Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai, First Muslim Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, to our Mother of Nation Begum Fatima Jinnah, from UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi to cricket star Sana Mir, women have achieved great heights and excelled in various fields such as lawyers, judges, teachers, social activists, poets, actors, educationists, army officers, pilots, doctors, police etc. They have in fact conquered fields that were thought to be mainly male dominated.
Decades of resistance against Indian occupation of Kashmir and denial of rights have made Kashmiri women more courageous and resilient despite all the odds. They have played a lead role alongside men folk to break the shackles of Indian occupation in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiri women were the first to out throw the Dogra Rule in Jammu and Kashmir.
Empowering women is to empower and educate them with the acumen of critical thinking. It is only then that they will be able to know about their rights and repel any arbitrary infringement upon it. Awareness of their rights enables them to seek social, economic and political rights, which is in true spirit an assimilation of the great Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s vision over a century ago, in which he considered education as a vital precursor for the rights and enlightenment of Muslims in the pre partition era.
Hilal for Her plays a leading role by encouraging and highlighting the women who have excelled in their fields and continues to project the bright face of Pakistan.
— Mushaal Hussein Mullick, Chairperson of Peace and Culture Organization and wife of Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front
Women display great empathy towards others and that makes them very special. The qualities of mercy, compassion, and empathy are desperately needed by everyone in the world today. I hope and aspire for Pakistani women to be at the forefront and also to continue striving for better education. I pray to live in a country where men and women understand the importance of education and equally participate in the society to make Pakistan a thriving community.
— Dr. Amineh Hoti, Executive Director of Markaz-e-Ilm, Centre for Dialogue & Action (CD&A)
Each year, on March 8th, we celebrate Women's Day in honor of the amazing contributions of women to our society. The day also celebrates the inspirational role of women around the globe to safeguard women's rights and build societies that are more equitable.
My question is: Why just March 8 and why not celebrate every day as Women's Day? Do they deserve to be appreciated for only a day? Do not they deserve more? There are many reasons for the unequal treatment of women in a society; culture or traditions, but lack of education is one a major cause. Empowering women can not to achieved without proper education. YES! in life, I believe in these three words, Struggle, Hard Work and Reward.
— Dr. Minhas Majeed Khan, Ph.D , University of Peshawar
Thinking differently is an asset. The dots connect differently for different people coming from different life experiences. Value the divergences. The young women in Pakistan are strong, motivated and committed to make a difference. This difference will resonate with the global community in unimaginable ways; harnessing leadership potential towards better futures.
— Puruesh Chaudhary, Futures researcher, development and strategic narrative professional
Pakistani women are an embodiment of strength and resilience. With the passage of time we have seen some legendary names rising and representing Pakistan internationally. And that is why we share their real life stories on Women's Day to celebrate their existence & inspire others at the same time. If we support their right to choose better careers and provide them safe and friendly work environment and educational spaces, they can make us proud and lead the country in a better way.
Being an adventure sports athlete, I have witnessed the power of sports not only in myself but also in many other women around the world. And that is why I intend to empower the young girls of Pakistan through adventure sports so that many other girls can rise and become champions in the future and leave a legacy of strong independent women who can face any challenge with courage.
I believe, Hilal for Her is a great initiative, addressing the real life issues of women and connecting them at the same time. Hilal for Her can do wonders by reaching the most remote areas of Pakistan where women do not have access to digital resources and lack awareness. I wish courage and strength to all the beautiful women out there.
— Samar Khan, Pakistani cyclist and adventure sports athlete HH
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