Here is a list of some of the great Pakistani women who have not only struggled to make their own lives but have also changed for good the lives of many people around them and eventually the image of Pakistan. We are proud of them and their legacy.

The list is not at all exhaustive but just an overview to show the strength of the Pakistani woman.

Ameena-SaiyidAmeena Saiyid

– for running the most prestigious publishing organization; for reviving reading habits and love for books among children and adults alike and for launching Pakistan’s biggest literature festival that is fast turning into a tradition!

Asma-JahangirAsma Jahangir

– for obliterating the tycoons of corruption and misery in Pakistan and for giving a voice to countless women who had lost hope and meaning of life

Atiya-Fyzee-RahaminAtiya Fyzee Rahamin

– for being a leading patron of art, culture, music and literature and for being an accomplished artist and poet herself who chose to settle in Pakistan after partition at the request of Mr. Jinnah

Attiya-DawoodAttiya Dawood

– for writing bold and rebellious poetry highlighting the plight of women, discrimination they face at the hands of men in the society and the crimes that are perpetrated against them!

Ayesha-JalalAyesha Jalal

– for being one of the most outstanding and internationally acclaimed historians Pakistan has produced so far

Begum-Ra'ana-Liaquat-Ali-KhanBegum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan

– for being one of the earliest women politician and social worker in Pakistan; for being the first female Governor of a province and Chancellor of a University; for founding APWA, oldest and leading organization for welfare of women in the country.

Benazir-BhuttoBenazir Bhutto

– for being the first woman Prime Minister in the modern Muslim world and for fighting dictatorship without fear of her life

Balqees-EdhiBilquis Edhi

– for silently, humbly striving to take Edhi and its work forward

Bushra-GoharBushra Gohar

– for being a leading human rights activist and politician from the conservative Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and for championing the cause of women inside and outside parliament

Diep-SaeedaDiep Saeeda

– for fearlessly fighting bigotry, extremism and persecution of the poor and helpless by always taking the front lead; for her exemplary courage and valor

Dr-Farzana-BariDr Farzana Bari

– for her outstanding contribution to gender studies and for being a vocal women’s rights activist

Dr.-Attiya-InayatullahDr. Attiya Inayatullah

– for her lifelong contribution to family planning/population welfare and for being the only Pakistani woman to serve on the executive board of UNESCO and head the organization

Dr.-Ayesha-SiddiqaDr. Ayesha Siddiqa

– for her bold stance against the military; yet sustaining it

Dr.-Fauzia-SaeedDr. Fauzia Saeed

– for her contribution as a social scientist & researcher and a leading women’s rights activist

Dr.-Maliha-LodhiDr. Maliha Lodhi

– for her outstanding contribution as a journalist, editor and later as a diplomat when she served as Pakistan’s top diplomat to US and UK

Dr.-Quratulain-BakhteariDr. Quratulain Bakhteari

– for her tremendous community services in the areas of health care, education and social activism especially in Balochistan where she established thousands of schools for girls

Dr.-Ruth-PfaoDr. Ruth Pfao

– for dedicating her life to fighting Leprosy in Pakistan and being instrumental in containing the disease in the country

Dr.-Shamshad-AkhtarDr. Shamshad Akhtar

– for being the first female Governor, State Bank of Pakistan; for her outstanding contribution as economist who served on senior positions at World Bank and later at the Asian Development Bank.

Fahmida-RiazFahmida Riaz

– for daring to say no to the patriarchy and writing rebellious poetry that forced her to go into exile during General Zia’s era

Faryal-GoharFaryal Gohar

– for being a leading human rights activist and a feminist writer who earned accolades nationally and internationally

Gulzar-BanoGulzar Bano

– for being one of the first women to serve in the bureaucracy and being the first woman Cabinet Secretary; for being one of the foremost Pakistani women poets in English

Hina-JilaniHina Jilani

– for fearlessly fighting cases of helpless women subjected to worst discrimination in the patriarchal society

Jennifer-MusaJennifer Musa

– for dedicating her life to serving the downtrodden and underprivileged in Balochistan that earned her the title ‘Queen of Balochistan’

Justice-(Retd)-Majida-RazviJustice (Retd) Majida Razvi

– for being the first woman to rise to the position of judge in a high court in Pakistan and for advocating repeal of Hudood Ordinances while she headed National Commission on Status of Women

Kishwar-NaheedKishwar Naheed

– for writing the poetry of rebellion daring age-old anti-women traditions and customs

Madiha-GoharMadiha Gohar

– for earning international acclaim for her theatrical performances and using her Ajoka theatre group to highlight social issues and promote social causes

Maj.-Gen.-(Retd)-Shahida-MalikMaj. Gen. (Retd) Shahida Malik

– for being the first woman to rise to the rank of a General in Pakistani army

Marvi-Sirmed Marvi Sirmed

– for taking a bold public stance against bigotry and religious extremism and bravely fighting for injustices and oppression at all forums

Maryam-BibiMaryam Bibi

– for her outstanding contribution to improve the status of women at grassroots level in Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa through Khwendo Kor, an organization she founded in 1993 and that works in over 300 cities and towns focusing on social organization, community-based female education, microcredit, primary health care and advocacy.

Mukhtara-MaiMukhtara Mai

– for fighting alone, and then together, against abuse and sexual violence against women

Prof.-Anna-Molka-AhmedProf. Anna Molka Ahmed

– for being a pioneer of fine arts in Pakistan and for setting up department of fine arts in Punjab University which evolved into a centre of excellence in fine arts and produced many noted artists

Rashida-Mohammad-Hussain-PatelRashida Mohammad Hussain Patel

– for her lifelong commitment to emancipation and protection of legal rights of women in her role as a leading lawyer; for founding Pakistan Women Lawyers Association that has provided legal aid to countless women

Seema-AzizSeema Aziz

– for establishing Care Foundation, a leading non-profit organization providing education to over 100,000 children in marginalized communities

Sharmeen-Obaid-ChinoySharmeen Obaid Chinoy

– for making meaningful documentaries highlighting real issues faced by Pakistan and for bringing home the first Oscar Award won by any Pakistani

Sheema-KermaniSheema Kermani

– for her grace and the lead glory on the stage that mesmerizes 100 a hearts at a time; for relentlessly fighting for women’s rights and empowerment

Sherry-RehmanSherry Rehman

– for her noted contribution as a journalist and later as a parliamentarian and a vocal women’s rights activist who tabled various bills in the assembly to empower women and protect them from discrimination and harassment

Tahira-AbdullahTahira Abdullah

– for boldly facing tyranny and bigotry and fighting for women’s rights

Tahira-Mazhar-Ali-KhanTahira Mazhar Ali Khan

– for her struggle spanning over 60 years for the rights of the underprivileged, including workers, peasants and women

Zaibunnisa-HamidullahZaibunnisa Hamidullah

– for being a pioneer of English journalism and feminism in Pakistan, for being the first woman columnist, editor, publisher and political commentator

Zubeida-MustafaZubeida Mustafa

– for her outstanding contribution to English journalism that spans over four decades; and for writing highly valuable books


—Written by Junaid Zubairi

4 Responses

  1. Aamer

    Inspiring people indeed and role models for Pakistanis to look up to – men and women alike!

    Missing (even if the list is not meant to be exhaustive) Fatema Jinnah, for standing up against a military dictator.

    جواب دیں
  2. Asim Belgaumi

    Excellent, but incomplete. two names that come to mind immediately are Dr. Nafis Sadik and Begum Shaista Ikramullah. I am must’ve their are many others.

    جواب دیں

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