“Women have been brought up to believe that it’s OK to be controlled by men. It’s not. It’s not worth living a life full of hypocrisy and unhappiness”. – Frieha Altaf
Our Woman of Substance, Frieha Altaf is the ‘PR Mogul of Pakistan’. Frieha is a choreographer, CEO Catwalk Event Management, model, publicist, mom, speaker, influencer, and child abuse activist. She is a victim of physical and sexual abuse as a child and is focused on mitigating the taboo associated with the term child abuse. She is an activist of the rights of the children and has publicly shared the story of her trauma on different platforms.
What does Women’s Day mean to you?
Women’s day is our day. It’s the day to celebrate being a woman loving yourself and celebrations of other amazing women as well! It’s also a day to stand up for your rights, pave the way for others less fortunate.
One thing Western women can teach Asian women. (Or vice versa).
Actually we can all learn from each other, we all are diverse and beautiful. We each can teach and support each other. We have 62% women who graduate but don’t work. Only 2% take on leadership roles. Another thing we can learn is self-respect! Women lack self respect and ownership of their dreams; it’s a society-ingrained concept and they lack freedom of choice. Western women also have similar issues, we think they are emancipated but it’s not true. The #metoo campaign proves that.
Your female role model in current times.
My female role model is Oprah Winfrey! I have massive respect for this lady. There are lots of women in Pakistan and out of Pakistan who are just AMAZING and I look up to them including Maleeha Lodhi, and some of my own peers. Internationally, I am impressed by strong women like Angelina Jolie. Oprah Winfrey because her story is well- known and her story and experiences groomed her and made her an amazing person. This is really very inspiring!
One hardship you faced in your path to success.
One of the biggest problems a creative person faces is trying to make people understand what they are talking about. The other problem is nobody wants to work in Pakistan! It’s hard to find good HR, we don’t have proper procedures to recruit artistic people and this was one of the biggest challenge for me.
One thing you would do, if you were a man for a day.
I don’t think there is anything a man does which I don’t do. I would have played Golf, Scuba dived, and Sky-dived! I think I would pick up issues on women and talk about them. I salute the men who pick up a war for women. There is a gender-war in every society and it is wrong. The genders should speak for each other!
One thing we can teach Pakistani men.
A Pakistani man needs to surrender himself to his female hormones a little bit. Because I think that they need to become more sensitive to the controlling things in their nature, when they control the women and don’t let them be independent. If I talk about my father, even though he made me so independent, my mother is completely dependent on him. She couldn’t drive, she couldn’t write cheques or buy groceries. I think our men should let their wives, sisters and daughter grow, make their own mistakes, marry who they want, and find their own career.
Fill in the blanks, A woman’s place is…
Where she wants to be, up there alongside with other genders, up there on K2, up there on Mount Everest, where you are Malala, where you are Sharmeen Obaid, where you are what you want to be!
A song that describes you best
As this is women’s day, the song should be women oriented so I will say “I am Superwoman” by Alicia Keys!
According to Frieha Altaf, men and the society are intimidated by strong women. It is essential for a female to be financially independent and select a profession of her choice. Strong women are the essence of the community, even though they have to work extra-hard to gain recognition. Frieha continues to inspire us with any venture she takes on. She is presently working towards empowering women on multiple platforms including her recent campaign “Beyond Beautiful”!