Who are our role models?
Sometimes our role models are the people we see and spend time with everyday and sometimes they are just figures on TV or the Web. Whoever they may be, we all have respect for them, they have influenced our lives in some manner, and they are an image that we look to.
Who do you look to when your world is compromised by violence and poverty? Often in difficult situations, people who are successful through illegitimate means frequently become role models. Women in Pakistan fortunately have many role models to look to even in difficult settings.
Since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in late 2007, one might think that the number of women in high political positions have decreased due to extremism, fear, and conservatism, but there are still many women in high position that give hope to many and provide a positive influence on the young population of Pakistan.
In the Pakistani Senate, there are currently 18 women seated and the constitution requires that at least 17 women sit in the 100 seat Senate. In the lower “house” of the Pakistani Congress, the National Assembly, there is a minimum of 60 seats reserved for women, and women currently fill 72 seats (out of 342, or 21 %). To compare to the US, there are currently 17 women (out of 100) serving in the US Senate and 75 women (out of 435, 17%) in the US House of Representatives.
These congresswomen provide an image of women in power in the public sector. Their mere presence in positions of power can have a positive effect, instilling an optimistic drive for young Pakistani women.
There are also women in power outside the public sector in high positions that provide a positive model for community building. There are several women directors of NGOs working to help improve their country. Women such as Jehan Ara (President Of Pakistan Software House Association), Sabeen Mahmud ( Director Peace Niche NGO), Rabia Gharib ( CEO of CIO magazine), Asma Jehnagir (Human Right Activist) and many more. These women not only represent the independent, enlightened and modern woman of Pakistan, despite the hurdles, but also act as role models to many young women looking to make a better Pakistan.
Jehan Ara Sabeen Mahmud Rabia Gharib Asma Jehnagir