7 Pakistanis Make it to the BBC 100 Women 2014 List

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October 29, 2014
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BBC’s 100 Women is an annually-published list that honors women who are striving to change the world as we know it using their art, activism, profession, knowledge, and talent for the betterment of society. The list compiled by BBC in the second consecutive year of publishing has more women associated with science and art than the earlier edition, and it also brings good tidings for homeland as 7 Pakistani women have also been featured on the list.

The 7 Pakistani ladies who made it to the BBC 100 Women 2014 list are Nigar Nazar, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Ayesha MustafaSana Saleem, Sarah Jehaan Khan, Tehmina Kazi, and Saadia Zahidi.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is an acclaimed journalist and film-maker who, apart from winning 3 Emmys, a Livingston Award, and Hilal-e-Imtiaz accolades, gained fame for bringing home the country’s first Oscar for her documentary, Saving Face.

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Ms. Nigar Nazar, often credited as the first Pakistani female cartoonist, is an acclaimed artist and the CEO of Gogi Studios. Recognized specially for the creation of the female comic character Gogi, Ms. Nazar is also an educational reforms activist and occasional chief guest/speaker at art-related events. With her Polka dot dress-clad comic-strip character Gogi, she has been striving to highlight the problems faced by Pakistani women in the modern era, no doubt a refreshing take on women’s rights, gender gap and feminism.

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Ayesha Mustafa, who grew up through education and experience at different parts of the world including Karachi, Lahore, Cairo, New York, and Dubai is a social entrepreneur who now resides in London. She interned at Grameen Bank in Bangladesh where she gained insight into the positive impact that sustainable intervention could have on underprivileged societies. She later went on to found Fashion ComPassion, an online retail platform for fashion brands, that takes social responsibility just as seriously as style, with an aim to “create positive change through fashion by bringing ethical independent brands to a global audience.”

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Sana Saleem, the fourth Pakistani to be featured on BBC’s 100 Women list this year, is a social media activist particularly known for her campaign against Internet censorship in Pakistan. She is the director of Bolo Bhi, a not-for-profit organization which advocates human rights, government transparency, digital security and privacy. Ms. Saleem is also the co-founder of Stories Beyond Borders, and occasionally writes for local and international media publications.

Saadia Zahidi is a renowned economist and author. Apart from her presence at the helm of World Economic Forum as a Senior Director, she is working with businesses and governments to address the gender gap issue. She is also the founder and author of Global Gender Gap & Human Capital Reports.

Tehmina Kazi is the director of the organization British Muslims for Secular Democracy. Founded in 2006, BMSD aims to ‘bring together a diverse group of Muslim democrats from a variety of ethnic and social backgrounds,’ and ‘to challenge perceptions, ideas and current thinking about British Muslims as a collectivity and the issues that affect the wider society‘.

Finally, the seventh Pakistani superwoman is Sarah Jehaan Khan who, at the young age of 16, is one of the youngest achievers on the list. Sarah is a film-maker and activist. She founded Jugnoo, a project to highlight the complications faced by women due to environmental issues. Her film ‘Harvesting Hope’, which addresses the issue of adverse effects of pesticides on the health of women cotton-pickers, won acclaim from different national and international art & film festivals like the one held at Harvard University where it claimed second prize.

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Other prominent individuals featured on the list include Divya Sharma, an Indian feminist and science student; Shazia Saleem, a British entrepreneur; Bangladeshi textile manufacturer Rubana Haq; and Asma Mansour, the co-founder of Tunisian Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. The complete list can be viewed here.

–Image credits: BBC, Dawn

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