April issue 2012

By | Society | Published 12 years ago

March 15 was an exciting day for women achievers in Karachi, who attended the Ladiesfund Women’s Awards ceremony arranged by the Dawood Global Foundation on a balmy weekday afternoon at the Mohatta Palace gardens. Around 200 of Karachi’s women movers and shakers arrived at the venue, beautifully attired and oozing confidence and good energy.  The chief guests included acclaimed writer Fatima Surriya Bajia, development professional Dr Marilyn Wyatt from USAID and legislator Khushbakht Shujaat.

Ladiesfund’s mission is to promote women’s empowerment in Pakistan and honour female trailblazers across industries. This year the winner for the 2012 LadiesFund, people’s choice Woman of the Year Award was Oscar-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and the other nominees included Ameena Saiyid OBE, Hina Rabbani Khar, designers Sana Hashwani and Safinaz Muneer and Ambassador Sherry Rehman.

The LadiesFund Idol Award was given posthumously to Arfa Karim Randhawa whose parents had come specially from Lahore for the event. Mr Randhawa spoke of presenting the softer side of Pakistan through similar endeavours. The Trailblazer Award was given to Rabia Khan of Sungold Organic Foods and the Momentum Award to Zeenat Saeed Ahmed of Taneez fame.

It was heartening to hear the chief guests outline the importance of women supporting women, and men — fathers, husbands, brothers —supporting women in order to provide them an enabling environment to realise their dreams. Everyone agreed that Pakistan has produced some of the strongest women who can compete uninhibitedly with the rest of the world. The need to eliminate extremist mindsets in society was expressed unequivocally by Ms Shujaat, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy spoke passionately on the power of speaking the truth to empower change locally and globally.

This article was originally published in the April 2012 issue of Newsline under the headline “The Power to Empower.”

The writer is a former assistant editor at Newsline