In the tapestry of leadership, there’s a thread often overlooked, a force silently shaping the destiny of Pakistan—women leaders. This piece is an urgent call to acknowledge, appreciate, and actively support the women navigating uncharted territories in boardrooms, government offices, and communities.
Join us as we delve into the transformative power of inclusive policies, growth opportunities, and the inspiring stories of women rewriting the leadership narrative in Pakistan.
It’s no secret that the number of women leaders is disproportionately low, and it’s high time we invite them into leadership positions and actively work toward creating an environment that encourages their retention.
In this article, we’ll explore the policies and opportunities needed to make leadership more welcoming for women, and we’ll touch on the undeniable value that female leadership brings to the table.
The Current Landscape
Before getting into solutions, let’s paint a picture of the current scenario in the country. Pakistan, like many other countries, faces a scarcity of women in leadership positions. Whether it’s in corporate boardrooms, government offices, or community organizations, the numbers need to reflect the actual potential and talent that women possess. Now, the question is: What can we do about it?
Creating Inclusive Policies
One of the primary steps towards empowering women leaders is the implementation of inclusive policies. These policies should address the unique challenges that women face in the workplace and provide practical solutions. Flexible working hours, equal pay, and maternity leave policies are just the tip of the iceberg. Companies and organizations need to go beyond mere rhetoric and actively commit to creating an environment where women can thrive without the fear of discrimination.
Ensuring Safe Space Through Implementation of Anti-Harassment Policies
Creating a safe and respectful work environment is paramount in fostering women’s leadership in Pakistan. Anti-harassment policies play a crucial role in establishing a secure zone where women can thrive without fear of discrimination or mistreatment. By actively addressing and preventing harassment, organizations contribute to building a foundation where women feel valued, heard, and encouraged to take on leadership roles.
Opportunities for Growth
In addition to policies, providing ample growth opportunities is essential. Mentorship programs, leadership training, and skill development initiatives can play a pivotal role in nurturing women leaders. Organizations need to establish programs that specifically target the development of women employees, ensuring that they have the necessary skills and confidence to ascend to leadership positions.
The Pro-Women Arena
Making the arena pro-women involves a cultural shift. It’s about fostering an environment where diversity is not just welcomed but celebrated. Encouraging open dialogue, recognizing and appreciating the unique strengths that women bring to the table, and actively challenging gender stereotypes are crucial steps in creating a pro-women workspace.
The Value of Female Leadership
Now, let’s talk about the undeniable value that female leadership brings. Studies consistently show that diverse leadership teams lead to better decision-making, increased innovation, and improved financial performance. Organizations can navigate an ever-evolving business landscape more effectively by having a mix of perspectives, skills, and experiences.
Trailblazing Women Leaders in Pakistan
In a nation where challenges for women in various fields persist, there are remarkable individuals breaking barriers and redefining what’s possible. Let’s shine a spotlight on some trailblazing women in Pakistan who are making history and inspiring change.
Dr. Sarah Qureshi – Aerospace Engineer
Driven by a passion for environmental sustainability, Dr. Sarah Qureshi is a pioneer in the male-dominated field of aerospace engineering. Armed with a Master’s degree in Aerospace Dynamics and a PhD in Aerospace Propulsion from Cranfield University, UK, Dr. Qureshi is at the forefront of developing the world’s first contrail-free aircraft engine. Her work at Aero Engine Craft aims to reduce aviation-induced global warming, showcasing her dedication to making air travel more environmentally safe.
Lieutenant General Nigar Johar – Military Trailblazer
Breaking through the ranks of the Pakistan Army, Lieutenant General Nigar Johar stands as the first woman three-star general in the nation’s history. Her journey, which began as a cadet in 1981, led to her historic promotion in 2020. Not only does she hold the distinguished position of the first female surgeon general of the Pakistan Army, but she also commanded an armed forces hospital—a testament to her long and rewarding career in a traditionally male-dominated field.
Yasmeen Lari – Pakistan’s First Female Architect
Yasmeen Lari is a trailblazer in architecture, leaving an indelible mark in the male-dominated profession. Starting her career in the early 1990s, Lari built iconic structures in Karachi, including the Taj Mahal Hotel and the Finance and Trade Centre. However, her trajectory changed after the 2005 earthquake, prompting her to dedicate herself to providing homes for the marginalized. Lari’s resilience and commitment showcase the transformative power of architecture beyond aesthetics.
Jehan Ara – Tech Leader and Advocate
As the President of the Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA), Jehan Ara is a driving force in the tech industry. With 29 years of experience in marketing and interactive new media, she champions the extension of ICT to empower communities. Additionally, Jehan Ara advocates for online privacy and data protection legislation, spearheading initiatives like the Women’s Virtual Network to connect educated women with opportunities remotely.
Faiza Yousuf – Tech Empowerment Advocate
Founder of WomenInTechPK, co-founder of CodeGirls, and program director of CaterpillHERs, Faiza Yousuf is empowering women in the tech industry. Her work with Logitech MX’s #WomenWhoMaster series highlights her commitment to advocating for gender inclusion in the tech field, opening doors for more women to enter and thrive.
These trailblazing women are not just breaking glass ceilings; they are shaping the narrative of what women can achieve in Pakistan.
Empowering and retaining women leaders in Pakistan is not just a moral imperative; it’s a strategic move toward building stronger, more resilient organizations.
Through inclusive policies, opportunities for growth, and a pro-women arena, we can pave the way for a future where leadership knows no gender boundaries. It’s time not just to invite women to the table but to ensure they have a lasting seat.
Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences as we embark on this journey towards a more inclusive and equitable leadership landscape in Pakistan!