• 03 Mar - 09 Mar, 2018
  • MAG’s Editorial
  • Spotlight

These enterprising women have proven that their strength is enough to keep them in the news, and obviously, not for the wrong reasons. How these females succeeded to be in the limelight is what MAG focuses on this International Women’s Day

Momina Mustehsan

Momina has been riding the wave of fame ever since her debut in Coke Studio two years back. But one of her biggest achievements to date, perhaps, remains on BBC's list of 100 influential women for 2017 where the 25-year-old was the only Pakistani woman to receive the honour.

Sometimes for her work, other times for her alleged link ups and breakups, our media is smitten with her and loves to write about her. Earlier last year, the singer shocked her fan when she announced breakup from her fiancé of just four months. There were many fake stories published about the reasons behind her decision which made Momina finally lash out at the gossip mongers. The Afreen crooner gave everyone out there a shut-up call, asking for some personal space, urging publications to ‘stop selling my personal life for clicks and views.’ But Momina saw some amazing highs after that, as well – she joined hands with actor Osman Khalid Butt to honour women’s right activists, her Ramazan OST went viral as soon as it hit the internet and her number in last year’s Coke Studio also met a similar fate. 

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

It isn’t difficult for Sharmeen to stay out of news. Most of the times, it is her work that keeps her in the limelight and at other times, it is her vocal opinions that make headlines. The two-time Oscar winner yet again stole the spotlight after winning the coveted Knight International Journalism Award 2017 for her reporting abilities.

On the other hand, Sharmeen took over the realm of social media last year after she bashed a doctor for sending an unsolicited friend request to her sister on Facebook. Her rant on Twitter regarding the matter had netizens divided over women using the feminist card unnecessarily as well as a display of privilege – a reaction Sharmeen handled quite gracefully while apologising for her emotional tweets.

Nadia Jamil

Everyone’s favorite, Nadia made a return to television with a drama with strong social message about child marriage. She played the role of a lady health worker in Mujhay Jeenay Do, which she decided to take up despite not keeping well physically. Always known to portray strong female characters in reel, Nadia proved that she is just as strong in real life when she came forward with the struggles she has been through. “I have a form of epilepsy known as focal epilepsy that was triggered by a neck injury, post a terrible car accident. It has taken a strain on my body,” the Behadd star shared last year.

Maryam Nawaz

She was touted as one of the most powerful women of the world in 2017 by The New York Times and as speculations suggest, she is possibly next in line to be given PML-N’s party presidency. Well, it wouldn’t be a surprise if that happens, for the lady is currently in news for her prowess at oratory and fiery speeches that influence party workers as well as the masses where PML-N possesses a strong hold. In the past five years, Maryam has risen as the next possible female leader and is being compared by her followers to likes of Benazir Bhutto whom she admires as a politician.

Ayesha Gulalai

The past year has done much to forward the cause of women globally. The #MeToo campaign started a worldwide conversation on harassment against women in workplaces. MNA and former member of PTI, Ayesha Gulalai came forward with allegations last year against the Chairman PTI that shook the nation. She claimed that Imran Khan had been sending her lewd messages and overtures since October 2013. Following her statements, Gulalai decided to exit the party, citing 'ill-treatment' of women in the party as the reason behind her decision. She had communicated her grievances to the party leadership but no action had been taken, according to her. Everything, from the timing to her words, were questioned, as there were political gains in the balance in this case. In most discussions related to the allegations, her account was rubbished, and even though the masses may never find out the real truth behind them, the fact of the matter remains that the backlash Gulalai faced in her coming forward is worrisome.

Nighat Dad

As a lawyer and human rights activist, Nighat Dad – founder of Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) – hails from a small village near Jhang and is considered to be an influential force when one talks about dealing with cyberbullying and devising digital security strategies for young girls and women in Pakistan. Time and again Nighat has advocated and researched for digital solutions in line with supporting human rights, freedom of speech and democratic practices in the country. In 2016, Nighat was awarded the Dutch government’s Human Rights Tulip award and the Atlantic Council Digital Freedom Award, both of which left Pakistanis feeling proud of her achievements. Last year, Nighat was in news for being awarded with the TED fellowship following which she represented Pakistan at the TED Global Stage in Arusha, Tanzania, along with 20 other change-makers.

Saba Qamar

Saba knows her craft, something she utilises to the best of her abilities. Last year was a treat for the talented actress for she was basking in the glory of successful projects one after another. Her much-awaited debut in Bollywood opposite Irrfan Khan became a reality after the release of her hit film Hindi Medium and also bagged a nomination in Filmfare’s Best Actor (Female) in a Leading Role category. For the rest of the year, she made headlines playing the role Fauzia Batool – based on the life of late social media sensation Qandeel Baloch – which she essayed with finesse, indeed. Saba turned heads with her exceptional acting chops in Baaghi and is recently bestowed with the Lux Style Award for Best TV Actress for her performance in the drama serial.

Sima Kamil

Women all over the corporate sector in Pakistan had a proud moment when Sima Kamil was appointed earlier last year as the new CEO of the United Bank Limited (UBL). The official announcement made Kamil the first woman to lead a major Pakistani bank. She has an impressive resume having led Habib Bank Ltd's (HBL) Branch Banking since 2011 and been previously associated with the micro-finance industry as a director of the First MicroFinance Bank. She also has experience at international financial institutions, including American Express, a financial services company, and Standard Chartered Bank. Kamil has a business degree from Kingston University in the UK and an MBA from the City University, London. She also chairs the Board of Governors of the Karachi Grammar School, and is a board member of the Notre Dame Institute of Education. She is definitely a massive source of motivation for working women in Pakistan.

Naureen Hyat

The co-founder and business head of Tez Financial Services, Naureen Hyat wanted to be a doctor in order to help the needy. Even though she did join medical college but dropped out following its long distance from her residence. However, she found another way to help poor people and it was her compassionate nature that led her to provide financial services to support them in managing their life and build a better future for their families. After having developed Tez Financial Services, a smartphone app that offers financial access to the unbanked, under-banked and Millennial users, Naureen was in news for all the right reasons. The app is aimed at speeding up financial inclusion by aggregating credit, savings, insurance, and investments into a single platform with the help of analysing smartphone data for customer acquisition and credit underwriting. Naureen, along with her team won the Support Disruption for Good Challenge at the RFI Summit in Zurich last year.

Mahira Khan

Would it be wrong saying that Mahira has been on a roller coaster since the launch of Humsafar. But the year 2017, especially, has been Mahira’s for a number of reasons – mainly, her much publicised debut with King of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan in Raees, for having won multiple local and international accolades, featuring in the much talked criticised Shoaib Mansoor directorial Verna and being embroiled in an internet controversy. Twitter India's annual ranking list rated the Shah Rukh, Mahira Khan starrer as the most talked about Hindi film in 2017 based on the hashtag volume. The Bin Roye star, who bagged two awards at Beirut International Awards Festival last year, was then engulfed in a viral storm of controversies. Mahira was first seen hanging out with Ranbir Kapoor at the Global Teacher Prize in Dubai in March and was then caught sharing a smoke with him a few month later in the wee hours on a street in New York. She was attacked, for the act of smoking, her dress, the fact that she was hanging out with a male actor at an inappropriate time, and anything else in between that one could think of. But celebrities from both sides of the border, including Ranbir himself, came to her defence and were quick to shut up the haters. Mahira surfaced through the ordeal and ended her year on a lighter note by celebrating her birthday in an intimate get together.

Krishna Kumari Kohli

As the latest addition to Pakistan’s political scenario, Krishna Kumari Kohli, is the first outcast Hindu woman who has submitted her nomination as one of Pakistan Peoples Party’s female candidates for the Senate. The 38-year-old Krishna, who hails from Sindh’s Thar district, will become the first woman senator – belonging to the country’s minority Hindu Kohli community – to make it to the power corridors. She is the face of a diverse generation of the country’s young politicians who are not only educated but sincere towards making life of their fellow countrymen better in the future. All her life, Krishna has had to struggle hard, as her family was a victim of bonded labour, and has been an advocate for human rights fighting against all the odds that came her way.