Naveed Ahmad Khan
Islamabad:Serena Hotels, under its Public Diplomacy initiative Raabta, hosted an engaging panel discussion on the topic “Celebrating Female Role Models of Pakistan” at Islamabad Serena Hotel on Friday evening.
The aim of the event was to honor women who have displayed exemplary talent, grit, commitment and professional excellence in their respective fields to make their mark, and become role models for the younger generation of women.
The diverse panel included Abida Malik, President of Behbud Association; Kashmala Tariq, Federal Ombudsperson for Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplaces; Alia Zafar, Group Head, People & Organizational Excellence at Bank of Punjab; Sarwat Majeed, the first female General Manager of Serena Hotels Asia; Dr. Muneeza Rizwan, Head of Dermatology at PAF Hospital and young female powerhouse singer Hadia Hashmi, who made her mark with her Nescafe Basement debut.
The panel held an interactive discussion titled ”What it means to be an empowered woman in Pakistan” and shed light on factors impacting the professional and personal life of women, and the goals of women empowerment in the Pakistani context, as well as the role of change-makers, corporations and society at large in this quest.
Kashmala Tariq, making her remarks on the panel, said that it was important to celebrate women role models for the future generation of professional women, for whom the pioneers are paving the way so they face lesser challenges and more success.
Dr. Muneeza Rizwan remarked that she felt a truly successful woman is one who is a success in her role at work as well as a success in her role at home. Many professional women are mothers and it is important for them to mould children who are useful members of society. She said this was a difficult balancing act but an important one.
Sarwat Majeed, the General Manager for Serena Hotels in the North, and the first female GM in Serena Hotels Asia, said that corporations play an important role in nurturing the potential of female employees. It is important for male senior executives to be champions of change and craft policies that will support women professionals to realize their talents and passion.
Abida Malik thanked Serena Hotels for always supporting the cause of women empowerment, through support for the work of Behbud Association especially the women artisans. She said empowering women has a ripple effect on the whole society and improves the lives of entire communities.
Commenting about the clash between the left-leaning and right-leaning segments of society, Alia Zafar said that our people need to learn about constructive discourse to talk about differences in a respectful way. She said that the progress of women and girls of Pakistan is crucial for crafting a better tomorrow for our country.
The event was held as part of Raabta, a Public Diplomacy Initiative of Serena Hotels that aims to curate conversations with experts, policy makers and the interested citizenry in order to create knowledge, and develop a wider appreciation of socio-economic subjects relevant to our society. The discussion was moderated by Ms. Sidra Iqbal, a prominent broadcast journalist and curator of Raabta.
The audience included participants from the government, corporate and diplomatic sectors and civil society who also interacted with the panelists during the Q&A session.