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I thought long and hard as to who is my inspiration in life. So many names have propped into my mind and for many reasons but none of them have come close to Fatima Jinnah. Fatima Jinnah is a source of inspiration for me. She defied traditions by completing her education and taking up a profession, which at that time was unusual for women to do. She accompanied her brother, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, not just as someone who was his shadow but side by side she helped shaped his dream. And that dream was Pakistan. She empowered this belief that women can achieve anything they want. Her contribution to social development and encouraging women’s power and participation in national affairs is much to be admired and inspired from. For me, Fatima Jinnah is a perfect role model for all Pakistani women, young or old. She was a beacon of hope for women in her time and that beacon of hope still rings true in today’s world. In today’s Pakistan, more and more women have pursued careers, higher education and becoming active in politics. But we still have a long way to go before we can complete Fatima Jinnah and her brother’s dream of seeing women enjoying their full rights and privileges in Pakistan.

When I think about what does being a Pakistani woman mean to me, I think of Fatima Jinnah’s aspirations. That comes to my mind. But does those aspirations come into the minds of ordinary Pakistani women? For so long we have placed blame on male dominance and gender disparity as obstacles to women empowerment. We have blamed the patriarchal set up of Pakistan for denying women the equality they deserve. It is no longer the patriarchal set up that is standing as a sole obstacle to us achieving our full rights. We have an enemy within. Sadly to say there exist women who have underestimated their own capabilities and the capabilities of other women around them. These women are easy to find, in your household, your friends, the women that live in your neighbourhood and the list goes on. Gender inequality that arises from male dominance is strongly supported by certain female dominance who allow themselves to believe that gender inequality is rightful in its place.

What exactly can be done to overcome this, to change this mentality? Its not something that can be achieved overnight. But as a Pakistani woman requesting my fellow Pakistani women, please keep Fatima Jinnah’s beacon of hope alive, within you and within those around you. Only you can help change the mindsets of those women who feel gender inequality is rightful in a Pakistani society. Make something for yourself. Be vocal. Be an inspiration for them and for your future generation. Show them that a Pakistani woman is much more than being just a daughter, a wife and a sister. She is an important member of the society and she can make a world of difference to the society we live in, if only those around her have enough belief in her capabilities. She is a Pakistani woman, the woman which Fatima Jinnah had envisaged, would prosper her nation. She is Fatima Jinnah’s beacon of hope.

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