The Feminist Book Every Pakistani Girl Needs

A talented Pakistani author and artist has transcribed the rich stories of real Pakistani women, accompanied by more than 50 of her own illustrations. The book is called “Pakistan For Women: Stories Of Women Who Have Achieved Extraordinary Things.” Maliha Abidi pens down the empowering stories of all kinds of women who have overcome stigma and untold obstacles. Her artwork carefully sketches out strong depictions of them, doing justice to their power.

There’s a large, dust covered gap on bookshelves all across Pakistan which needs to be filled with books like these. Books that celebrate our women, and books that detail their struggle. Books that little girls can pick up and learn from, and books that empower them on their own journeys to womanhood in Pakistan. These journeys are often multilayered and complex, and riddled with taboos, missteps, insecurities, and rejections. Without highlighting strong role models, we lead our girls to believe these hurdles are insurmountable.  In the book trailer, the author discusses her motivation for writing a book like this in Pakistan. Maliha says, “sometimes girls aren’t all that encouraged to follow their dreams because their parents, or they themselves, think being from Pakistan means we belong to a country without many resources. And that’s why we can’t achieve our dreams.” 

In a country like Pakistan, where girls still struggle to receive an education because of a host of issues that range from cultural restrictions, to institutional deficiencies. Young girls struggle to develop long term dreams, or follow what they believe in. Politicians like Krishna Kumari Kohli, for example, experienced first hand the institutional issues that hinder a girls education — today she is the first Hindu Dalit woman to be elected to the Senate. Stories like these resonate with girls from similar backgrounds, in villages, in schools that are underfunded, or far away from big cities. They see themselves represented in women like these, but more importantly, represented in a successful woman. A book like ‘Pakistan For Women’ brings together the stories of more than 50 women who have ascended to great heights through their handwork. The book describes mountaineers, astrophysicists, educators, activists, musicians, and so many more. To stubbornly follow your dreams in Pakistan is to break barriers, and it takes bravery to do that — to challenge deeply rooted social norms. It’s about persevering beyond your community and their gaze, or the cavalry of citizens that stand in queue to tell you ‘no.’

Some of the dynamic personalities you can expect to read about are Noor Jehan: The Queen of Melody, Asma Jahangir: The Feminist, Samina Baig: The First Pakistani Woman To Climb Mount Everest, Veeru Kohli: Bonded Labour Activist, and Nazia Hassan: National Icon and Singer. 

Pakistan for Women: Book by Maliha Abidi

Time is here. I am here to announce my upcoming book, “Pakistan For Women: Stories of women who achieved something extraordinary.”Not only did I get the honour to Illustrate the book but I got to write it as well. I have always been about women empowerment and now, I am so pleased to be doing such a project in Pakistan! It took every bit of passion I had in me where I wrote the chapters and created the portraits but the best bit was connecting to so many empowering stories 🙏🏼 . When I heard their stories, I cried, I laughed and ultimately, I made it where I get to be someone who tells their incredible stories!Pakistan for women is a book about more than 50 real stories of amazing women who belong to Pakistan and have achieved something extraordinary while making a difference. It consists of illustrations for each woman along side their stories.It is the first one of its kind in Pakistan. It celebrates women from all walks of life and is designed to inspire girls and help them understand the importance of women empowerment and feminism through these stories.It is seen at times that certain people discourage girls to go after what they are passionate about. In some cultures, basic right of education is denied as well. Awareness and cultural misconceptions play a big role in this. Excuses vary from honour to household responsibilities, although at times the reason told to those little girls is that they are in Pakistan and therefore they cannot achieve something because their country is poor or doesn’t have that many resources.This book consists of true stories of women, from mountaineers to astrophysicists to educators, and it advocates for the idea that if these Pakistani women can achieve their dreams through hard work and dedication, so can all the girls, reading their stories.Thank you for everyone who supported me. Especially Papa and Aski ❤️.This book is dedicated to my Grandma, Ahmedi Khatoon. ✨It is set to be published March, 2019. #PakistanForWomen #WomenEmpowerment #Feminism

Posted by Maliha's Art on Sunday, 13 January 2019

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