From mountaineers to astrophysicists, meet 50 extraordinary women from Pakistan

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Maliha Abidi writes and illustrates a new book celebrating the accomplishments of Pakistani women.

Being a Pakistani, I see that there is a lot of talent in my country. Being a feminist, I see that there are many women from my land that we need to celebrate. That is why I decided to write and illustrate my new book, “Pakistan for Women: stories of women who have achieved something extraordinary.” It celebrates women from all walks of life and is the first book of its kind to be published in Pakistan.

From mountaineers to astrophysicists to educators, there are many stories of excellence from Pakistani women. Through this book, I hope to show girls that through hard work and dedication, they too can achieve their ambitions.

 
“Pakistan for Women: stories of women who have achieved something extraordinary” is available for preorder on  Kickstarter . (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)

“Pakistan for Women: stories of women who have achieved something extraordinary” is available for preorder on Kickstarter. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)

 

I have seen parents or elders discourage little girls from pursuing a certain profession or following their passions. Reasons vary from household responsibilities to a matter of family honor — or because they say that our country is poor and no one here can achieve much. I know that Pakistan has a certain reputation and it doesn’t reflect the reality. Yes, there are problems but what country doesn’t have problems? To challenge that reputation and to challenge everyone who discourages girls, I created this book featuring more than 50 real women who have each done something great for Pakistan, in Pakistan. They have not only changed the way our country is progressing but also have broken endless boundaries.

Here are a few of the incredible women in my book:

 

Noor Jehan: “Queen of melody” who inspired generations through her talents. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)

Noor Jehan: “Queen of melody” who inspired generations through her talents. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)

 

 
Samina Baig: The First Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)

Samina Baig: The First Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)


 
 
Ayesha Farooq: First fighter pilot of Pakistan. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)

Ayesha Farooq: First fighter pilot of Pakistan. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)


 
 
Nazia Hassan: Singer/songwriter who crossed boundaries with her voice. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)

Nazia Hassan: Singer/songwriter who crossed boundaries with her voice. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)


 
Noorena Shams: An athlete who won 63 gold medals, 24 silver medals and 5 bronze medals across sports disciplines. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)

Noorena Shams: An athlete who won 63 gold medals, 24 silver medals and 5 bronze medals across sports disciplines. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)


Shazia Parveen: First female firefighter of Pakistan. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)

Shazia Parveen: First female firefighter of Pakistan. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)


Veeru Kohli: Bonded laborer activist, standing up against modern-day slavery in Pakistan. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)

Veeru Kohli: Bonded laborer activist, standing up against modern-day slavery in Pakistan. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)


Asma Jahangir: a symbol of feminism and the winner of UN Human Rights Prize. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)

Asma Jahangir: a symbol of feminism and the winner of UN Human Rights Prize. (Courtesy of Maliha Abidi)


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About the author and illustrator:

Maliha Abidi is a 23-year-old student from the city of Karachi who is currently studying neuroscience at the University of Sussex. She is also pursuing her passion for art and women’s empowerment through projects like her “Pakistan for Women: Stories of extraordinary women” book.