The role of women has evolved over the years in the society. From joining the corporate world as well as the government sector and holding key positions, there is no field as such in which women have not proved themselves. Same is the case as to being entrepreneurs, there are numerous examples around us when women have proved themselves as successful entrepreneurs globally. Pakistan is one of the countries where women entrepreneurship is something very unique and is making its way with leaps and bounds.
In order to celebrate women entrepreneurs and achievers, Dawood Global Foundation held the 11th Anniversary of the Ladiesfund Women’s Awards for Pakistan 2019 at the Sindh Governor House. Over four hundred of the most dynamic and inspiring women gathered to celebrate female strength and acknowledge great economic contribution of Pakistani women who are not only job creators but are all finalists in ‘Trailblazer’ and ‘Momentum’ categories. The First Lady of Pakistan Samina Alvi sent a special message for the occasion. The Governor of Sindh, Imran Ismail, was the Chief Guest for the event and State Bank Governor Dr. Reza Baqir was the Guest of Honour.
The ceremony was hosted by Pomme Gohar who kick-started the event by announcing for recitation of Holy Quran followed by National Anthem by pop singer Jana Nazabeth, and a classical dance performance by Anjaleen Maryam Agrawalla.
The event’s first award was Ladiesfund Lifetime Achievement Award which was presented to Ava Cowasjee and Dr Sania Nishtar who graced the occasion with their presence. Cowasjee is well known in the shipping industry and for her philanthropy, while Dr Nishtar is a Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on poverty alleviation and flew in from Islamabad for the event.
Moreover, Governor Sindh presented Ladiesfund Idol Award to winner Sameena Kumari Pirbho from Tharparkar. Other winners received People’s Choice Awards such as organic beautypreneur Myra Qureshi (Trailblazer), event planner Anisa Rashid Kha (Momentum) and child abuse prevention activist Frieha Altaf (Women of the Year), all of whom are great contributors to the economy.
This year’s judges who finalised the slate of nominees included past Ladiesfund winners Yasmeen Lari (2016), Ameena Saiyid (2012), Simi Kamal (2016) and Noorjehan Bilgrami (2015). Voting was viral via online, radio and television reaching over 100 million homes. Other pre-announced awards included Pakistani Hoor (pioneer) - a beggar turned entrepreneur who is training other female beggars in her hometown of Makli to become entrepreneurs, Uzma Noorani (Angel) and craftpreneur Bushra Imran (Entrepreneur in the Spotlight).
The event’s proceedings also incorporated Dr. Abida Sattar’s session, who gave a short presentation on breast cancer awareness. There was an introduction of ‘Educate a Girl’ - another initiative that comes under Ladiesfund - by deserving scholars with special thanks on stage to French Consul General Didier Talpain and Fundraising Chair Nazneen Tariq Khan.
Moreover, an international fellowship was awarded to Tooba Rashid to travel to Germany for World Business Dialogue and presented on stage by German Consul General Eugen Wollsforth. She was joined on stage by past international fellows Rabia Khamani, Sonia Kamnani, Alina Makhani, Rabiya Hafeez, Syeda Humaira Anwaar, Konmal Gopi, Sindhiya Kirshan and Naina Rani, as well as British Deputy Head of Mission Mark Rakestraw.
This year’s Bachelors Scholarship for Iqra University was awarded to Maica Mary (Governor House nurse’s daughter), with tuition cheque presented on stage to IU representative Asad Hussain.
Last but not least, the attendees at the Ladiesfund Awards included Begum Governor Reema Imran, Senator Khushbakht Shujaat, Senator Nasreen Jalil, Amin Gulgee, Khalid Mirza, Deepak Perwani, Mina Hasan, Ali Rashid, as well as various diplomats, socialites and dynamic women achievers. The ceremony was concluded on a brief tea session where the winners and attendees interacted and had a pleasant time.