As compared to the rest of the world, the women from South Asia face a lot of discrimination, societal pressures, and intimidation from their surroundings. It is very hard for them to stand up on their own and try something which is against the norms of the society. Having a strong back and an aim in life is enough for them to be cast as a disgrace for the society.
However, there are women who choose to shine and bring some significant differences in their surroundings through their efforts, skills, and dedication.
Only 10 percent of women own the SMEs in South Asia and Pakistan is no exception to all this. Owing to the gender disparities, only a handful of women get access to the resources and the opportunities enabling them to initiate and sustain entrepreneurial ventures.
Here is a list of some of the strongest women around us who have managed to make a mark in the society and bring significant changes in the economic and entrepreneurial front of the country.
Nighat Daad – Founder, Digital Rights Foundation
It was Nighat’s sensitivity towards the vulnerability of women in the online space that ignited her spirit to initiate the Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) in Pakistan. Through her platform, she plans to conduct awareness campaigns for the women so that they can maintain utmost online safety and privacy. She has received international recognition for her remarkable works and has also won the 2016 Human Rights Tulip award.
Kulsoom Lakhani – Founder/CEO, Invest2Innovate
This lady has initiated a project which helps other people to start their ventures. Forming a basis for a strong entrepreneurial system in the country, Kulsoom Lakhani is all set to make her platform one of the leading startup accelerators around. She has managed to create more than 1,000 jobs and raised $1 million in funding which is nothing less than a miracle for a woman coming from a third-world country.
Momina Rajput – Head of Digital Accelerator, Telenor Velocity
Spearheading Telenor’s Digital Accelerator, Momina Rajput is helping all the budding startups to reach the market using the resources provided by Telenor. These resources include their digital distribution, API platform, online payments solutions, and data analytics. She has been the face of Telenor Velocity and has been responsible for mentoring some strong startups including Mazdoori, Edjunction etc.
Maria Umer – Founder/President, Women’s Digital League
Women’s Digital League has been operational for the last 8 years and has worked wonders in empowering women to utilize their capabilities by connecting with them through digital networks. Her organization provides a platform to all those women who can become an earning member of the family and has been featured in biggies like Forbes and Mashable.
Samar Hasan – Head of Communications, Karandaaz Pakistan
Pakistan is gearing up for the Fintech revolution and Samar Hasan is its forefront in this situation. She has worked with numerous international and domestic foundations in her 12 years of experience including Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Aga Khan Foundation, USAID, and International Organization for Migration to name a few. It is her passion for women entrepreneurship and empowerment that takes her forward.
Hafsa Shorish – Director, PlanX
Plan9 cannot be overlooked when considering the budding entrepreneurship in the country as it has provided the perfect ecosystem for it. When PITB launched Plan9, Hafsa Shorish was one of the first hires and founders of Plan X which has provided immense support to startups. She believes that it is only the right mindset and the right team that can take a startup to unrivaled success.
Maryam Mohiuddin – Director, Social Innovation Lab
A lawyer who has a prestigious alma mater as the University of Berkeley, Maryam Mohiuddin is the founder and director of Social Innovation Lab (SIL) which is a social enterprise incubator forming its basis at LUMS. She is also a co-founder of the magazine ‘Literary Pakistan’ which has a section entirely devoted to entrepreneurship learning.
Mehak Jamal – Program manager, TechHub Connect
A graduate from FAST in Electrical Engineering, Mehak Jamal is the project manager of Pakistan’s first-ever co-working space which has been designated for freelancers. She has diverse experience in product development and management prior to being associated with TechHub. Her aim is not only to provide an office space to freelancers but also initiate a work culture where people are helping each other.
Looking up to these strong women, others can also find the courage and determination to follow their suit and become strong contributors of the economy and the society.
- womens day: aiesec org