March 8th has been marked as an official United Nations observance of International Women’s Day since 1975. The UN has made active efforts and promoted the holiday in all domains to promote gender equality and empower women’s rights.
With another year ahead of us, let’s press a quick rewind button and pay tribute to 5 special women for their services and the prominent themes the UN has cultivated over the last 5 years.
In 2018, the UN highlighted Rural and Urban activists transforming women’s lives. As per UN stats, rural women make up 43% of the global agricultural labor force. These women are major contributors to global economies and are often pushed into the shadows. Our very own, the late, Asma Jahangir won the 2018 UN Human Rights prize being a defender for human rights, women rights and fighting for all classes of Pakistan.
Jaila Haider: 2019 – Peace Prize
In 2019, innovation was propelled to the forefront on the basis of building equality as the main theme for women’s day. Highlighting social innovations, community safety, e-learning platforms for women, childcare and technology shaped for women by women. Ensuring women now play a decisive role in shaping their futures. In 2019, Jalila Haider known as the iron-lady of Baluchistan, an attorney and founder of “we the humans”, a non-profit organization who won the First Pakistan Peace Award winner. She specializes in defending women’s rights and provides free counseling and legal services to poverty-affected women.
Muazma Zahid: 2020 – Women in Tech
A solely equality-based theme was taken up for 2020. Labelled as the “Generation Equality” The world saw 2020 as a year most engaged and resolved to account for women’s rights. Focusing on the existing obstacles in the form of unchanged problematic laws and the practices ingrained in our cultures, workplaces, at homes and public spaces. Muazma Zahid proved in the international Women Tech Global Awards 2020 that Pakistani women can do everything. Muazma Zahid, who is the Principal Engineering Manager at Microsoft, won the silver medal for the Women Intech Mentor Award for 2020.
Amna Baig: 2021 – Integrity Icon
2021, with the world shaken up and engrossed in dealing with the Covid – 19 crisis, the theme aptly decided “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” Grappling with Covid and celebrating the efforts of women in leadership helping the globe in recovery. Highlighting how women are still underrepresented in leadership positions despite an effective participation. The world still doesn’t take to women corporate or political leaders with the same acceptance as they do with men. Based in the capital, ASP Amna Baig, was awarded the Integrity Icon Award by the Danish ambassador to Pakistan. Honoring her for her contributions to the police force and making a positive change in Pakistani society.
Samina Baig: 2022 – Pride of Performance
Still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, the theme for 2022 took a more sustainable approach. “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. With a realization that, without gender equality and women’s output a sustainable future might not be even in our reach in terms of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction. Thus, putting in spotlight women and girls leading climate change efforts, emergency response to honor their contributions and leadership. Samina Baig, became Pakistan’s first female to ascend K2, second-highest peak in the world in July 2022. Following her successful ascent of Everest in 2013, she received the government’s “Pride of Performance” medal.
If we take a minute to just take in all the themes for the last 5 years, we see quite a satisfying gradual growth or progression if we may say so. While for centuries, women have had to endure, fight and prove themselves for their rightful place in education, politics, economies, leadership and a say in how the world should be run. These past 5 years, the UN has emphasized how women play a rather significant role in developing our economies be it rural or urban women, and that they deserve to get an equal opportunity in learning with support be it in terms of childcare or maternity leaves, introducing and encouraging them to the world of tech.
Promising them that it’s more than okay to breaking and questioning the detrimental laws, practices, the predisposed challenges at workplaces and public spaces that their male counterparts do not have to face. Highlighting the women who bring change in leadership positions at governments and in the corporate world. Covid – 19 also put a further spotlight onto women as front liners. Proving how women are up for the challenge in every facet of life.
Well, let’s not call it a day girl, since we still have centuries to catch up to. Our resolve and collectiveness must only get stronger and maybe pinker.
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