“No nation can ever be worthy of its existence that cannot take its women along with the men. No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men. There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.”- Quaid-e-Azam, father of our nation

To date, this remains the most inspirational quote in our history which highlights the importance of women as citizens of Pakistan. Especially on a day like this, while we browse through thousands of quotes by opinion makers and leaders world over, the words of Quaid come as a motivation to contribute to our society with sincere dedication. The struggle the women of this nation have rendered since the very commencement of Pakistan Movement will always be saluted. Through the years we have had scores of women marking their mark in all walks of life. As we proceed on, we find more and more dynamic women coming forth and gaining recognition for their contributions. Most of these women may not have won any title or eminent award, but we surely cannot overlook their presence in our society. We celebrate some of these most inspirational women who are adding to the progress of the nation with a passionate zeal.

Ayesha Bux– Pakistan’s Honorary Investment Counselor to Melbourne

“Womanhood to me means influence. A woman is a very powerful vehicle that can affect a whole community of nation in the fastest way possible.”

She has had an exposure to represent various bodies,and speaking at International events since her youth days. Currently, she is representing the country at the wider Muslim community and Abrahamic religions in various forums. She is also Chairperson for Jewish Christian Muslim Association JCMA Women) and board member of JCMA otherwise.

She says:

“I struggle to find any challenges. This could be because I don’t view obstacles as challenges, rather opportunities to grow out of it. I also believe if you are strong, many challenges evaporate.”

Rachel Gill – Seasoned Model & Actress

“About Womanhood: Feel Empowered. Be Empowered”

For Rachel Gill, her work is not limited to glitz and glamour. She believes along with it comes a huge responsibility to be an inspiration to young girls in our society. A true patriot at heart, she feels proud of presenting Pakistan abroad. She says:

“When I represent my country in fashion platforms across the world I try to make sure that I make Pakistan proud.”

One of the greatest opportunities which, she says, overwhelmed her with patriotic sentiments was working in the movie Saya e Khuda e Zuljalal. Rachel proudly played the role of the Mughal-era legend Razia Sultana, the first female ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. Through this she depicted the valiant and invincibility of a woman.

Sadaf Naeem – Renowned Artist

“To move in any public place as a woman one has to be very strong, and I get all the power and energy from my husband.”

As an eminent artist, Sadaf Naeem has many recognitions to her credentials. She is particularly known for bringing pride to Pakistan by participating in national and international group shows in London, India, Korea and Sri Lanka. Her biggest inspiration remains her mother whom she calls a true reflection of South Asian women, and someone who admires her work truly.

As a woman and an artist she says:

“I feel myself to be blessed as I always had passion for art. There is so much to do for our society and art is a way to give back all the positive energies to this society.”

RM Naeem’s heart touching tribute on Women’s Day:

Fariha Rashed– Publicist & Magazine Journalist

“Embrace it and most importantly embrace your individuality for there is no one else in the world like you”

From mainstream print media to owning her own magazine which transformed into a PR agency is a huge achievement, especially keeping in mind those days when social media hadn’t been conceived at all. Fariha Rashed, like many who started out at that time, achieved success with their hard work. She believes that being a Pakistani she has a world of opportunities open to her and it is just about grasping them.

She says:

“I have never allowed my gender to get in the way of success or work - for me personally it is a non-issue. If I believe in myself as an individual and I carry myself that way. For every person in the world who wants to discriminate against you for your religion, gender or what may have you, there are 5 in turn who will respect you for who you are. Look to work with and for those people.”

Sophiya Anjam – Radio Broadcaster & Host PTV World

“Womanhood is beautiful. I feel so lucky to be blessed with it. What matters most to me is being a Woman of substance”

She is one of the pioneers who has made a significant contribution to establishing the radio culture in Pakistan. Over a decade later, RJ Sophie is recognised as a frontrunner in her field. She is highly acknowledged for her humanitarian efforts to build coexistence, interfaith harmony, and help the underprivileged through charity based initiatives. Because of this, RJ Sophie is chosen among the Ambassadors of Shaukat Khanum Institution.

She says:

“There will always be some people who will want you to fail and put you down at different points. Life itself is a challenge every single day. You battle your own demons but you will win if you set your mind to it. Sometimes people don't understand that there can be a female boss with power and intelligence to make bold decisions. I, for one, love challenges and love overcoming them. To be happy with your imperfections is perfectly alright. Always believe in yourself and your abilities. I am my own hero and I am sure happy to be a woman who thinks like that!”

Qudsya Cheema – Pioneer Newborn Photography

“Womanhood to me is all about knowing yourself and empowering other women”

We seriously have never had a photographer who specialized in newborn photography. Qudsya Cheema, by record, is the first specialized photographer in this field of art. A mother of three herself, she says the birth of her first child totally changed her perspective on life. This is why she took the plunge to explore this genre and introduce it in Pakistan through her set up called Miqs Photography.

She says:

“As a young business entrepreneur it's not just a venture that befits me. I envision a change in the photographic scene of Pakistan. It’s one genre where girls are more comfortable and confident than any male photographer. Not only that, I also see it bringing a wave of new small businesses for crafters as the set designers and prop vendors."

Sadia Salman – CEO Diet by Design

“Lift up other women in your life and you will soar to new heights yourself! Be a mentor to someone, be the guiding light for the ones behind you.”

Sadia Salman diversified a prolific career to becoming a health and nutrition consultant as she felt the need to guide and educate women, who in general, deal with quite a lot of mayhem in life. Shebegan Diet by Design about half a decade ago against all odds. The need was felt because women have very limited time to cook healthy meals day in and day out because of their routine at home and work.

Salman says:

“If women can be leaders, queens and mothers why can't they be entrepreneurs? Women in Pakistan are excelling in fields like genetic engineering and flying jet fighter planes! There is hardly any dearth of courage or motivation for them!We should just remember not be biased against our own gender.”

Sana Mir – CEO Lemonpeel

“Women have potential to do well on any given platform. They perform better if everyone's families just support and believe in them and trust them to blossom.”

She began her venture as a small home based catering business. She began by catering birthdays, and it was within no time her dedication and vision found widespread fame among friends and strangers alike. To ensure quality, Sana Mir focuses on just a few events a month.

Speaking about challenges Mir says:

“When I started out I wish someone more successful them me had mentored me and given me opportunities to help me grow. People get it wrong! Women don’t want tea and a pat on the back or motivational lectures. Give work opportunities to young ladies, a chance to prove themselves. From my experience, I have learnt no one will come to rescue you, it's only you yourself and your hard work.”

Madiha Saail – CEO Project Rich

“Womanhood to me is the compassion that God puts in the heart of a woman. To be able to feel, to comfort and to nurture.”

She comes from a family of highly ambitious women such as the eminent designer Aasia Saail her mother and Begum Begum Almas Zaka-ur-Rehman as her grandmother. So being a professional is naturally in her blood. To her the biggest challenge comes from home since a working woman is required to balance domestic life as a mother, a wife, and a daughter-in-law. She says, “The constant fear of failing at my most natural and beautiful roles such as motherhood and homemaker, I can easily say that is my biggest challenge every single day.”

Earlier this year, Saail introduced her own Pret line called ‘Spread Your Wings’ which celebrated real women from the real world. Through her initiatives she has become an inspiration and mentor for many.

Fatima Khan – Co-Founder Aura Crafts

“Womanhood - it's what you make of it!”

Fatima Khan hails from a family where women have the passion to pursue their ambitions and yet serve the society with sincere commitment.  Although Aura Crafts was an initiative of her parents, Fatima Khan poured in huge contribution which has made it an instant success. The initiative that her parents began as a hobby during her college days became a huge venture of success because of her vision and hard work.

Khan says:

“The need to introduced organic health products was mainly felt after I was diagnosed with dengue. This is in fact a contribution to develop a healthier society for us all. For me not just being a woman but a simple good human being who cares and is thoughtful is important, and I try to exhibit this through my work.”