The first HUM Women Leaders Award held at the Governor House, Karachi to honour and celebrate the iconic women from Pakistan and abroad. The evening witnessed the awards given to 11 notable women and a dynamic man for their contributions and achievement in the fields of diplomacy, finance, social work, healthcare, adventure sports, human rights, journalism and women’s rights.
The President of Islamic Republic Of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, US Ambassador to Pakistan, HE Paul W Jones, honourable consul generals, Governor Sindh Imran Ismail, other celebrated personalities and crème de la crème of the entertainment industry of Pakistan were also present at the event.
The event started with a note of thanks by Sultana Siddiqui, President HUM Network Limited in which she said, “The reason for this event is that we recognize the contributions made by women in society the world over, celebrate their stories, share the lessons they learned after crossing each milestone, and most importantly inspire the younger generation to go beyond these milestones.”
During her speech Ms Siddiqui also made a special announcement of Women Leadership Initiative Fund of HUM, collaborated by Charter of Compassion (one million rupees), which will be given to the award recipients to seed social initiatives for girls and women in the country.
Following Sultana Siddiqui, the US Ambassador to Pakistan Paul W Jones while addressing the attendees said, “United States is committed to giving equal opportunities to both men and women. Empowered women play a vital role in a country’s social and economic development.”
Chief Guest of the event, Dr Arif Alvi President of Pakistan said on the occasion, “From one fourth quota system for women in medical and engineering colleges back in the 80s to almost 80 percent representation of women in these institutions today, our nation has come a long way but only 10 percent of these women make it to the workplace. This needs to be changed. We have witnessed that when given the opportunity women work twice as hard as men.”
The ceremony was hosted by actor Mira Sethi and Sanam Saeed. The awards were given in four segments, each segment ended with a performance by Sajjad Ali and Zaw Ali, Hania Aamir, and Hadiqa Kiyann respectively.
The first award was presented to Samina Baig, Pakistan’s first female mountaineer in recognition of her tremendous achievements in adventure sports and for her efforts towards gender equality, presented by Hina Bayat. The second award of the evening was given to Jalila Haider, the first female attorney of Hazara community by Sania Saeed in recognition of her selfless devotion and outstanding work to women and children’s rights with local communities.
Barrister Khadija Siddiqi received her award from Mahira Khan in recognition of her bravery and determination to stand tall against a powerful and corrupt opposition and unsupportive society. The next recipient was Narges Abyar, the acclaimed Iranian film director who received her award from Madiha Saeed and Zeba Bakhtiar in recognition of her contributions for highlighting the plight of women and children caused by society, war and radicalism.
Dr Fouzia Saeed receiving her award from the Italian Consul General Anna Ruffino and Javed Sheikh in recognition of her exemplary services for promotion of Pakistani culture, women’s issues, stand against sexual harassment and commitment to women’s advancement. Ace actor Bushra Ansari was next to receiving her award from Asima Haq and Bunto Kazmi in recognition of her years of contributions to television and cinema. The next award was given to Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland and a forceful advocate for gender equality, women’s participation in peace-building and human dignity. She was unable to attend the event due to work commitments and addressed the attendees via a video message. Dr Seemin Jamali received the award in recognition of her outstanding services in the public sector and medical profession by Duraid Qureshi, CEO HUM Network.
The ninth award presented to the only man awardee of the night, Omar Aftab, a globally recognized campaign strategist for women’s and child health, economic and social development and his work for social justice and human rights, presented by Masarrat Misbah. Zubeida Mustafa was next to receive her award from Governor Sindh, Imran Ismail for her contributions in the field of journalism and her in-depth investigations and campaigns on education, health care, women empowerment, children and human rights. The next award was given to Dr Shamshad Akhtar in recognition of her illustrious career in the male dominant field of finance where she became the first woman in Pakistan’s history to serve as Governor State Bank by the first lady Mrs Samina Alvi. The last award of the night was presented to Maleeha Lodhi for her brilliant diplomatic career and contributions in giving Pakistan a positive profile at the UN as Pakistan’s former Ambassador and Permanent Representative by President Hum Network Sultana Siddiqui.
The the special performances of the night were from singing sensation Sajjad Ali and Zaw Ali, a choreographed act of Hania Amir and a powerful rendition by Hadiqa Kiyani.
A special obituary package, paying tribute to all the iconic women of the past who have made a mark with their resilience and tremendous success, and are a source of inspiration for women and men around the world was also screened.
The awards ceremony will be televised on International Women’s Day on HUM globally.