Five women in Quetta’s Hazara town are breaking gender stereotypes and dishing out equality through their culinary expertise. In a first, the gutsy women have opened an all-female workforce restaurant and set a new trend for the women in the area.
The restaurant, Hazara Restaurant, offers solace to all local women seeking a safe environment with the added bonus of a wide selection of tasty delights, ranging from traditional Hazara dishes to fast food.
However, the restaurant is not just limited to women but open to everyone including families and men.
Speaking about the restaurant, owner Hameeda Ali shared that she is just playing her part in bringing women to the forefront and fight for their rights.
Ali remarked that the first step towards female empowerment is to empower them financially.
Ali, a social and political worker, is a member of the Hazara community. She runs HurmattyNiswa Foundation and is working for the rights of the females.
However, the process of opening up a restaurant was filled with tremendous difficulties for Ali. She told Geo News that she faced many difficulties as many people discouraged her from running a business.
Since she hails from a tribal society, she remarked that she had to break many stereotypes to enter the restaurant industry.
“Many people tried to break my spirit but there were others who supported me throughout the process,” she remarked, adding that her family’s wholehearted support kept her going on.
The women working at the restaurant include students as well, who are earning money to pay for their education.
Baseera, a woman working at the restaurant, shared that she was encouraged after working with Ali, adding that her peers treat her with respect.
“My family’s economic burden was also lessened since I started working here,” she added.
Speaking about her experience, one of the customers Batool remarked that the opening of an all-women restaurant is a good omen. “I feel more secure here,” she added.
Ali shared that she feels she has been successful in achieving the aim of the restaurant. “The restaurant allows women to meet up their friends for an hour or 45 minutes and discuss various topics,” she said, adding that the eatery has given wings to fly and prove that they are no less than men.
The response to the restaurant has been very positive, she added.