In 1932, over a decade before Pakistan even came into existence, the All India Muslim League, passed a historic resolution giving women parity in politics. At the occasion, the founder to-be of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah said:
“No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you; we are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable conditions in which our women have to live.”
One could argue that the Quaid could say the same words in 2018 and they would still ring true. But our women have thrived against all odds. Here are some defining moments for Pakistani women:
1947 Begum Shaista Ikramullah became the first female representative of Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly
1954 Begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan became the first-ever Muslim woman delegate to the United Nation
1966 Madam Noor Jehan received the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz – the country’s highest civilian honour
1988 Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan becoming the first Muslim woman to be elected as head of state
1997 Pakistani women’s cricket team played its first recorded match against New Zealand
2000 Shazia Hidayat became the second woman to ever represent Pakistan in an Olympic event
2004 9-year-old Arfa Karim became the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in the world
2006 For the first time women cadets from the Military Academy Kakul assumed guard duty at Jinnah’s mausoleum
2009 Namira Salim became the first Pakistani woman astronaut
2010 Naseem Hameed became the fastest woman sprinter in South Asia following the 2010 South Asian games
2012 Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy becomes first Pakistani to win an Oscar
2013 Pakistan’s Federal Shariat Court swore in its first female judge, Ms Ashraf Jehan, in the 33-year history of its existence
2013 22-year-old Samina Baig, from the small town of Shimshal in Hunza Valley, became the first Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest
2013 Ayesha Farooq became the first Pakistani female fighter pilot.
2014 Malala Yousafzai became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the first Nobel Peace Prize winner from Pakistan
2016 Maryam Masood and Erum Masood made history when they piloted a Boeing-777 aircraft to several local and international destinations concurrently
The list is endless and the point we’re trying to make — one that should be self-evident — is a simple one: there is really nothing a woman can’t do. Truth be told, there is no right or wrong answer to Mashion’s #AllWomenShould challenge – all women have the right to define and shape their own identity and destiny.
We launch Mashion today with the hope that it becomes a place where women are celebrated, women are heard and women are answered. We hope to live up to these ideals and be the first to correct ourselves when we don’t. We would like to thank the hundreds of women that participated from across the globe. Many could not be accommodated due to the quality of video/sound, but we enjoyed every single one of them. Thank you for participating and being part of the conversation – your voices are the most powerful weapons.