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Women Move Mountains

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Quratul Ain Salman

Women are soft, gentle and do considered not strong enough to undertake the tough, hard and physically challenges particularly in the Eastern countries. Quite recent, we witness that the women are bracing much more challenges which is earlier considered for men only. They have achieved new heights in achievements. General perception about their role in the society is not improving. The women living in remote areas and mountain regions are facing much more challenges and they need attention of the top brass of the country to improve their living conditions. We mayreview the traditional role of women in our society and provide them equal opportunities to excel in every sepher of life. It is for the decision, policy makers and resource allocators to look into the matter more deeply to address the issues. In fact, women can move the mountains, if they are empowered, keeping in view their needs, cultural, social values and religion. Food & Agriculture Organization of UN has done exactly what is required to empower the women at the occasion of International Mountain Day (IMD) by assigning the theme i.e. “WomenMove Mountains”.This theme has much more importance and significance for Pakistani women.

The IMD is celebrated every year on11 December. It provides an opportunity to create an awareness among the masses about importance of mountains and associated challenges and opportunities. This year the theme is quite distinguished and would help to create awareness about the importance of women and encourage them to play more effective role in the society. At this occasion, the stakeholders organized activities across the globe. In Pakistan tooa large number of stakeholder organize activities to mark this day. Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP)is celebrating this day for 17 years. Last year, it organized 1st ever Sustainable Mountain Tourism and Sports Conference in collaboration and support by the key stakeholders. The inaugural Session was held at the President Secretariat whereas rest of the Sessions were conducted in Pearl Continental, Rawalpindi. A number of other activities Seminars, Eco Hikes etc. were also organized.

Realizing the importance of the theme, ACP is organizing a wider range of activities which include Seminars, Workshops, Eco Hikes, climbing competitions, exhibitions etc. The focus  such activities would be women. In fact, the word “Mountains” symbolizes empowering women. We should realize that the achievements of Pakistani women are not less than any other countries’. Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has played an important role to empower the women. She was the first woman Prime Minister in the Muslim world, despite hardships and sufferings she encountered in her early age. Her achievements and sacrifices are not less than moving mountains which inspired millions of women to craft their destinies for better future. Pakistani women athletes can alsobe motivated to bring laurels for Pakistan and project soft image of the country which is distorted by western media and anti-Pakistan forces.

Here I would like to mention that Samina Baig, NailyaKiayni have really moved the mountains. Samina Baig has climbed all the highest peaks of the seven continents and she has recently climbed K-2 as well. NailaKiyani has also climbed three Peaks above 8000-M. She is the only Pakistani women who has climbed three Peaks above 8000-M. These women have inspired young girls now following their path.

Dr ZubairaSirang, another lady from mountainous/remote area. She is  an eye surgeon and the first-ever Pakistani author to have her work featured on the prestigious Book Authority List. Her book Optics Made Easy: The Last Review of Clinical Optics was included in the list of ‘Best Ophthalmology Books of All Time.Zara Naeem Dar internationally topped the exams for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)/ Amna BaigAssistant Superintendent Police (ASP) Amna Baig’scontributions towards making positive changes and devotion to her profession for raising women and gender issues,decorated her Award by the Danish ambassador to Pakistan.

Women in Army are not behind. Lieutenant General Nigar Johar has become Pakistan’s first ever three-star female general of Army Medical Corps (AMC). So there is a long list of such high achievers which cannot be mentioned due to lack of time and space.

We need to look into the challenges being faced by women in our society as well. The women living in mountain areas are more vulnerable. They are moving mountains while performing their traditional role of rural women. However, the emergence of tourism in mountain regions of Pakistan has opened new opportunities for women for which more resources are required to be allocated.

In brief, this day is an opportunity for the stakeholders to break the stereotype concept of women in our society. Women can move mountains like the a few names mentioned above. However, leadership of the country need to formulate policies which may encourage women participation in the country, particularly living in remote/mountain regions of Pakistan.

The writer is MS(Media & Communication) and recently started contributing to the newspaper.

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