The 3rd edition of the country’s most coveted women’s award, Kashmir HUM Women Leaders Award was held at the Jinnah Convention Center in Islamabad, under the international women’s day theme “to make the cross and break the bias”. The event honoured and celebrated 11 iconic women and a dynamic man from Pakistan and abroad for their contributions and achievements in the fields of social work, healthcare, judiciary, human rights, science, education, art and architecture. The awards ceremony was graced by Dr Arif Alvi, President Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Canadian High Commissioner Wendy Gilmour, British High Commissioner Christian Turner, Minister of Science and Technology Shibli Faraz, Federal Minister for IPC Fehmida Mirza and other dignitaries.
The event started with the national anthem after which hosts of the evening Ahsan Khan and Mira Sethi invited President HUM Network Sultana Siddiqui to address the audience. After thanking President Arif Alvi and the honourable guests for gracing the evening, Ms Siddiqui said, “This is an evening to honour and acknowledge change-makers and leaders from Pakistan and abroad for being a beacon of hope for women across the globe. I would also like to acknowledge the commitment of President Arif Alvi and First Lady Samina Alvi for their support and encouragement for this platform since its initiation. The women being acknowledged here today come from diversified backgrounds. They have not only achieved great personal milestones but have also contributed to their communities and countries.”
Ms Siddiqui also requested the President to bring forth domestic violence and child abuse bills in the national assembly and requested the current government to increase women representation in the parliament and national assembly.
Chief Guest of the event, Dr Arif Alvi President Islamic Republic of Pakistan while addressing the attendees said, “Changing the centuries-old traditions and norms of discouraging women from pursuing their goals and ambitions and violence against women are hard tasks but it can be changed with a strong will, determination and re-education. Though the government is responsible for providing preventive measures in cases of violence against women, it is the people who need to step up when they witness such atrocities being committed.”
President Arif Alvi also stressed the need to provide opportunities to enhance the skillset of women working in different sectors.
The last segment of the ceremony began with the first award presented by Sultana Siddiqui to Noorjehan Bilgrami, an artist, researcher, educationist and the principal curator of the Pakistan Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020. The next award was presented to Fiza Shah for her work in empowering underprivileged children by providing them free education. Her organization Development in Literacy has helped thousands of children across the country to fulfil their biggest dream of getting an education and many have started their careers as doctors, engineers, teachers, bankers, professors, business and IT professionals due to this. The award was presented by First Lady Samina Alvi, who appreciated Fiza’s work. The last award of the evening was presented by President Arif Alvi to Justice Majida Rizvi, who has the distinction of being appointed Pakistan’s first woman judge to the high court and has worked relentlessly for the rights of women and children in the country. Justice Majida Rizvi has also served as the first chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women and has undertaken historic work on the review of discriminatory provisions pertaining to women’s right to assets, women’s employment in the public sector and the Qisas and Diyat laws.
The awards ceremony will be televised in March 2022 on HUM globally. HWLA aims to recognize and honour the contributions and achievements of iconic women from Pakistan and around the world who are change-makers in their respective fields and a symbol and source of hope, courage, determination and inspiration for women across the globe. These iconic women are mentors and role models for girls who aspire to be achievers.