This week we present the miracle women chosen by Dr.Fehmida Arif, a renowned dermatologist and a pioneer of laser technology.  She has made her mark in Karachi, Pakistan after practicing in Zurich, Switzerland for 5 years (1994-1999) and has had the opportunity and privilege of acquiring expertise in various European institutes. Dr. Fehmida, a thorough professional, has more than two decades of experience in not only enhancing the beauty of women but also their self-confidence. What makes Dr. Fehmida a true and conscientious veteran in her field is her honest and sincere concern for her patients who receive her complete and individualized attention. Dr. Fehmida can be declared as one of the best female cosmetologist and dermatologist in Pakistan.

Considering her own journey and hardwork Dr. Fehmida has chosen women that have carved a place of their own through perseverance and multi-tasking.  This week we have the owner of the Core Gym, the famous TV personality and journalist Sana Bucha, the managing director of a Towelling business, a consultant gastrointologist,  an educationist, a social activist, a HR consultant, a creative designer, a pathologist and one of karachi’s well known fashion designer, Misha Lakhani.

Sheema Sultan
Sheema-Sultan

She is a gym owner.

She is a multitasker.

She is passion.

It is said that you are lucky if you love what you do and do what you love. Sheema Sultan, owner of the Core gym in Karachi, proves that it is not luck that enables you to turn your passion into your vocation, but hard work, dedication and the determination to never get stuck in a rut. “By qualification I am a graphics designer but the nine to five lifestyle never suited me,” she says. “I am teaching, I am doing management, I am mentoring young people, and I am loving every minute of it.”

Sheema had always loved to exercise to the extent that she would cancel plans with friends if they ever interfered with her workout routine. She wanted Karachiites to have a workout facility in their hometown that could rival major fitness chains in countries like UK and USA. While the fitness trend is on the rise in Pakistan, the industry is still in its infancy. Most people go out and spend fifteen to twenty thousand rupees on a shopping spree in a single day, but when it comes to spending that amount once a month on their own wellbeing, there is a great deal of hesitation. “The biggest struggle for me,” says Sheema, “is educating people that fitness is a long term investment that they make in themselves.”

While being one’s own boss means one is free of the shackles of a nine to five monotonous routine, it also means that work life balance is always an elusive concept. Sheema is on call all the time but is now trying to delegate more to ensure that she can balance time and give attention at home too. When it comes to the ingredients for success, Sheema believes that trust and honesty go a long way. “If you are a business owner and trying to fool people out of their money you will be exposed very soon. I take my clients very seriously. For instance, I will never have someone who hasn’t exercised in their entire lives join an intensive boot camp,” she stressed. Not only do these traits help you professionally, they are also critical in your personal relationships.

Despite her success now, Sheema recalls that she wasn’t always this driven and dedicated. “I was the laziest person ever. I wasn’t ambitious and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Once I discovered the thing I was passionate about, it changed my life. It turned my life around. And now, it’s a moment of pride for me when clients who have experienced work-out spaces in places like Los Angeles and London tell me that joining my gym has been a life changing experience for them.”

Sheema is quite emphatic about the fact that financial independence is critical in this day and age. Even if one’s parents are well off one must have a skill that can be turned into a career. Every woman deserves the liberation that comes with that. According to Sheema, fitness and wellbeing also bring with them a unique sense of independence. Exercise, anti-ageing routines, and self-care are critical, especially for women in their thirties and forties.

It is apparent from the fierceness that lace her words that Sheema personifies passion and how, leveraged properly, it can change a person’s life. It has certainly transformed hers.

Sana Bucha

Sana Bucha

She is a journalist

She is strong

She is

The charming Sana Buccha is a television personality who only a few may not know of. While she comes off as a strong and opinionated woman on screen, deep down inside she is sensitive and emotional.  After working for several years for various television channels in Pakistan and overseas, she is now her own boss. “I decided to take a break from television journalism to do films. I am producing two films at the moment, one of them is almost complete. At my own production house, we also do commercials and documentaries.” She is juggling a lot on the professional front and has been married for six years now.

Being in a profession like Sana’s is not easy. It is blood, sweat, tears and a lot more. “The greatest problem I have encountered is fear. I have been on the hit list of the Taliban and have had to leave the country in the middle of the night to ensure my security.” But being, a woman, she has to deal with a lot of other fears as well. “There is so much damage that can be done to a woman’s reputation,” she says. “I have seen videos of myself on YouTube where I was being objectified. It is difficult to deal with it when your reputation is being marred. I have had men ask me out for tea and for dinner. This industry is very good, but that cannot be said about all the people that make up this entertainment industry.” Sana also mentions how being form an affluent family put her at a disadvantage. “If a woman comes in a nice car and a decent designer hand bag to work, then people don’t understand why she needs to work or have a career. They think I don’t need the money and I should be a begum saab doing my committee lunches. If a girl comes in a bus she is dismissed and if somebody comes in a big car, she is also dismissed. Then who do they take seriously?” Sana has also found it hard being a female boss in a male dominated field where men older than her did not appreciate a younger woman telling them what to do.

For Sana, being financially independent is of utmost importance. “I have a great father and a great husband who would always take care of my financial needs but I cannot imagine myself asking them to spend on my luxuries. A woman should be financially independent not just to secure herself for bad times. Even when times are good, you should have your own money to spend on yourself. Even if I give sadqa, I want to do it from my own money. Or if God forbid, if my husband loses his job, I should be able to help him out. I want to depend on myself and have others depend on me if need be,” she says.

Taking out time for herself and her family has been especially tough for Sana. “I remember when my khala died, I was doing a live transmission on US elections and I could only get 20 minutes to go and console my mother. There have been a lot of times in my life for which I wish I was there and I wish I had walked out on my work but it is not that easy. If I had done that, people would say I am not serious. So there’s a lot of pressure and because of that there are many moments in my life I have missed out on.” That is one of the reasons why she has now started working independently. Creating work life balance becomes especially tough because her husband also has very long working hours so they have to make sure they are free at the same time to get to see more of each other.

Her advice to younger women stepping out into the workforce is to stop thinking that being a woman puts them at a disadvantage. Yes, it is harder when you are a female and you have to prove yourself time and time again but you will make it. What is most important is an impeccable reputation and you are the only one who can guard it.

When Sana quit a private television channel after working for it for 14 years, she felt a little disoriented and rediscovering herself again proved to be a weak moment for her. But soon she realized it’s not what she does that defines her, it who she is that reflects on what she does. After a few experiments here and there, she is in a comfortable spot with herself and has direction. After years of hard work, she feels happy that when she goes somewhere, she doesn’t need to introduce herself. People remember her television shows and without asking her name, open the door. “That is the best feeling ever,” she says. And why not? There are few people who can make a mark for themselves like Miracle Woman Sana Buccha has and she deserves every bit of fame and respect that she has. She is nothing short of inspiration.

Mehreen Obaid

Mehreen Obaid - Copy

She is a multi-tasker

She is a professional

She is driven

“Everyone knows I have two babies – one is my daughter, Sophie, who is a year and a half and the other is the business that I run” says Mehreen Obaid, the Managing Director of Towelers Ltd. She is an inspiration for all those women who fear going to work because of the multitasking required, especially after beginning a family. She is the perfect example of a woman who, with the support of her family, can manage her professional and personal life with panache.  For the past six years, Mehreen has been at the helm of affairs of the company her father started about four decades ago. The company manufactures towels, bed linen, socks, blankets and garments. It has a turnover of about $35 million and is continuously growing its operations.

When her father passed away, Mehreen found it to be a real challenge to be on a plane just ten days later, going all over the United States and Europe, explaining to the clients that she is taking over the company and that it is not going down. “In the initial stages there were some hiccups” she admits, “because of the lack of examples of women in the male dominated textile industry for the position that I was going to be brought into the company for.” But with the passage of time, she has found strength in the fact that she is a woman and has learnt how to turn that into an advantage. She has, contrary to the beliefs of her competitors, led her company not just towards survival but to further expansion and that’s something she is extremely proud of.

Having so much on her plate is not easy, of course.  “Time management, trying to perform the roles of a mother, as well as a wife, a daughter and a daughter in law simultaneously while running a company is difficult,” explains Mehreen, “I have to juggle all the balls and make sure they all fall in the right place.”  She loves her daughter as well as her career and has learnt how to strike that critical balance. “My personal gain is to see the growth of both of these babies. Some days you love one more and some days the other, some days you have to make a sacrifice on one side to help the other. If it’s a big day at my daughter’s pre-school – I have to be there. But when there are crucial business trips, I know I have to be away from her for the next ten days, ensuring my company makes enough sales and the three thousand people who work for me continue to have a job,” She explains.

Mehreen finds the support of the family for a working woman to be crucial. “When I travel, I’m blessed that my in laws step in and take care of my daughter. On a day to day basis, my sisters help out a lot.” In addition she is a firm believer of the fact that financial independence is extremely important in the times of today. “I think no matter which income strata you belong to, today life is fairly expensive and dual income is extremely important to run a household.” A working woman can allow the household’s entire environment to change.

The most inspirational figure for Mehreen is her mother, who got married at the age of seventeen, lived a traditional life but always knew she wanted to have it different for her six children. She made her the independent woman she is today. Rather than having a miracle moment, Mehreen says she has had a Miracle Year – the year she gave birth to her daughter as well as led Towelers Ltd to making its first profit in the 2014-15 fiscal year.  With women such as Mehreen Obaid steering the country towards success, the stereotypes that only a son can take over the family business or that a working woman cannot care for a family well will soon be replaced with positivity.

Dr. Amna Subhan Butt

Dr-Amna-Subhan-Butt

She is a doctor

She is a family person

She is committed

“As a child I was very scared of becoming a doctor. I thought if I would write a wrong prescription, it would damage someone’s health!” says the young and successful Dr.Amna. “It’s safer to be a scientist rather than a doctor I thought. There’s less responsibility involved.” She grew up as someone who was hesitant to be a doctor but her family played an instrumental role in supporting her to achieve the height of success that she has today.

Dr. Amna’s journey as a medical professional finally began and her first clinical rotation started in the children’s ward. She kept asking herself if this is what she really wanted to do, and soon enough, she got a green signal from her heart. Dr.Amna then resigned herself to the fact that she will be allocating most of her time to others, and that she would be doing this throughout her life. She started working as a consultant gastroenterologist at Aga khan University & Hospital and has 3 postgraduate degrees under her belt. She has completed fellowships, is an active researcher, has taught undergraduate as well as postgraduate students, represented her institution at various international levels and has also been elected as joint secretary for Pakistan Society of Gastroenterology. Indeed, her record of achievements is something anyone would be envious of.

Dr.Amna’s field is very challenging and requires a great deal of commitment, time and dedication. “50% of medical students are female and 50% of the residents are females but only 25% of students who apply for my field are females. This calls to show how demanding my field is and why most females shy away from it.” Dr. Amna too, finds it difficult to maintain a balance between her personal and professional life. It’s a hotchpotch situation and she has to prioritize daily, reschedule and decide how to allocate time between work and family. “This balance is important. If you’re happy from the family side, you will be happy at the workplace. Definitely you can’t cut down on the time related to patients and research and that does take up the major chunk of my day,” she explains.

Genetically and hormonally, men and women are different, according to Dr.Amna. “You have to work 3 times more to make yourself as efficient as your male counterparts. They have more stamina, yet it is the woman who has to play so many roles at one time,” she reaffirms. Dr.Amna believes that the society still considers professional men to be more efficient than professional women. Even though she herself has had a pleasurable experience with most of her clients, a lot of patients opt for male doctors unless there’s a real need, for example when a woman is shy of male doctors. However, sometimes at the workplace, it is the females that create issues, reveals Dr. Amna. “You face 2 types of biases – bias from the opposite gender and also from the same gender. Many times males are helpful to you and I was lucky to have various male mentors who supported me.”

Dr.Amna believes it is important to be financially as well as emotionally independent. “Being emotionally independent will reduce your stress level and help you make complex decisions. You won’t be depending on anyone else for your own decisions and you won’t have regrets and disappointments,” she explains. Financial independence gives a woman the confidence and the reassurance she needs to help herself and her family

Dr. Amna considers her whole life as a miracle. From being given a beautiful name by her parents to the series of her achievements, all the highlights of her life tied together make her Miracle Moments. “I was given the opportunity to be a helpful and contributing member of the society and I have to thank my mother for that. She has been the kind of a mother you get to read about in books. She has given immense love and support to me and my siblings.” Dr. Amna’s Miracle Journey bears testament to the fact that medicine may be a daunting profession but it is also a gateway to help those who are in pain. If you persevere like her, the possibilities are limitless as well as rewarding.

Sabina Diwan

Sabina-Diwan

She is a teacher

She is a single mother

She is determined

Sabina is the embodiment of positivity and is someone who knows how to make the best out of whatever life has to offer. She turned the challenges life posed into a career that she loves and is extremely passionate about.  She started her journey in the field of education over three decades ago as a nursery teacher and then progressed over the years to teaching at the elementary level. Eventually she specialized in helping children with language and learning issues and it was when her youngest son was diagnosed with dyslexia in 1997 that she adopted this as her specialization. She believes that helping students with writing skills is her main forte and is happy that she is doing what she loves. “When you are in a profession you think you are born for, it is not just your work. It is also your comfort zone, which helps you stay refreshed and going.” She is now the director of Leads Academy in Karachi.

It is admirable that despite facing various challenges with her dyslexic son she says “life wasn’t very tough for me”. Though she had never planned to be working as much as she works now, the real challenge for her was the role of a housewife. “I think life unfolds and reveals what you are destined to do in this world. My job is to impart my knowledge and do my best with my students under my tutelage. You have to do what is best in circumstances given. There are always difficulties but you have to learn how to find your strength” she comments.

Her advice to young women stepping into the workforce is to be committed to the goals they have set for themselves while ensuring that a balance is maintained where the home-life is concerned. Therefore, it is important to have children when you are ready to take the responsibility and give your children the time that they deserve. Juggling one’s work and home is not easy but with determination, she feels it is possible. Working from home helped her strike that critical balance between her role as a mother and a professional teacher. She urges all young girls to get education, regardless of the income strata they belong to. “It is this education which will give them the financial independence and emotional stability that is so essential in today’s day and age. A financially dependent woman is shoved around, battered and badgered.” she says with conviction.

Sabina works seven days a week, and to stay beautiful and healthy she makes sure she keeps physically active by practicing yoga and going for walks. She enjoys using products such as scrubs and moisturizers to maintain the quality of her skin.

Sabina strongly believes a happy woman makes a happy home. “A woman is the nucleus of the family. If the woman is dissatisfied, the vibes go to the children and you are destroying generations.” For her, the key to that happiness is being self aware and honest with herself.  Her miracle moment is every time a non-reader reads. That is when her dream turns into reality and makes her fall in love with her job all over again. Sabina’s journey is an inspiration for all women who try to make sure they succeed not just at home but also at their workplace despite all challenges that life may throw at them. With strong women like her leading the education sector country, we can envision a brighter and a more determined Pakistan,.

Sana Z Khan

Sana-Z-Khan

She is a social worker

She is an educationist

She is passion

Sana Khan had the opportunity to live in several cities across Pakistan, UK, Nigeria and Malaysia while growing up. Having a natural interest in how various socio-economic factors affect development, she got the chance to observe various cultures very closely. Today, with a Masters in Development Studies, she works for an NGO called Aahang. They work on issues related to sexual and reproductive health which for a society like Pakistan are essential to discuss and work towards since these topics are still widely considered taboo. Child sexual abuse, domestic violence, gender relations, puberty, and hygiene are just some of the areas that Aahang focuses on.

For Sana, the nature of the work itself brings up the biggest challenges. “Things like child abuse are such that no one wants to talk about it. So, it becomes quite difficult when you are trying to work on the prevention of that very thing,” says Sana. The other challenge comes from drawing the proverbial line on where her work stops. “We only work on content that helps to prevent such acts. We don’t work on the psychology side of it, but very often we come across actual cases that are so distressing that it takes a mental and emotional toll on you.” Sana explains how it becomes even more difficult because many of those cases are out of one’s hands given that the state has no institutions or welfare of any kind.  She does have hope for the future considering that despite all the challenges that exist, there is a definite movement towards betterment. Along with Aahang, there are several other organizations lobbying with the government and trying to advocate institutional change. “We had the Kasur scandal, and now dramas are being shown on the topic of child abuse. I think the government is ready to accept talking about these issues. We have done a lot of advocacy with the provincial government to integrate relevant content into school curriculum.”

Another major challenge for Sana and Aahang are the social norms in our culture. She believes that for many parents and families, social mannerisms take precedence over the safety of our children. “It is of utmost importance to respect the decisions of children and give them empowerment over their own bodies. For example, if guests come over it should not be mandatory for the child to give everyone a hug. They should be able to make decisions about these things. Teaching children about ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ are uncomfortable topics indeed, but very essential.”

She recalls her miracle moment when she got the opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama. “It was a moment where I really felt in awe of someone. We talked about the importance of reflection, and of balance within all components that enable a human to be. I was really struggling with my research at that time and that meeting proved to be highly inspirational.”

Sana feels strongly about the state of gender inequality in Pakistan. While gender roles are ascribed to children across the world, Pakistan stands at 145 in the global gender equality index which is extremely low. “The opportunities, systems, and infrastructure that enable gender equality don’t really exist in Pakistan. These issues are important because it is this very imbalance of power that eventually results in domestic abuse of women.”

Sana ends by speaking about her mother and how her mother has been a source of strength and inspiration for her. With the passion Sana shows about her work, and the dedication with which she is pioneering the struggle for women empowerment in Pakistan, it is of no surprise that she is one of the Ponds Miracle Women. While working on the social issues plaguing the Pakistani society, she is steering the country in the right direction and we have hope in her.

Aysha Hassan

Aysha-Hasan

She is an HR Consultant

She is a single mother

She is a fighter

Aysha personifies the spirit of resilience that is the hallmark of every successful woman. She is the Head of Executive Search at Prime HR and a mother to a twelve year old daughter. The balance she has brought in her life between being fiercely independent and nurturing loving relationships is an embodiment of the miracle woman of today. “It was difficult yes, but never impossible”, proclaims Aysha as she speaks about the struggles of a single mom juggling a child, a home, and work. It was clear that the bond she shares with her daughter is a special one indeed. She believes that she never had to make a choice between work and motherhood because she finds a friend in her daughter who is a source of strength. “I believe in quality time and I am certain I am doing a good job at giving that to my daughter,” She says with confidence.

“Despite the lack of support from society and criticism all around, it is always your will that makes you persevere and succeed,” She says. She lost the family support she had when she lost her parents but with patience, focus and the support of responsible employers, she kept fighting.  “I used to get those 911 calls from home when I would rush back, tend to my daughter and get back to work but my employers were always very understanding”. Multinational Companies now provide facilities like daycares and flexible working hours which stem from an understanding of the problems women face in our society. That is something that is still missing in smaller and local companies. According to Aysha, if a woman has the option of daycares, flexible hours and agile working, especially during the natal years it will make her contribution to work much more effective.

To be successful, Aysha believes one must keep going. “Never stop! Do not be afraid of mistakes. I have made mistakes and continue to do so but you learn from them. Do not let your mistakes beat you and keep going. As long as you’re moving in a certain direction you will reach somewhere,” she advises. Mistakes, after all, are proof that one is trying. It was her father’s strength that inspired her to be the woman she is today, taking challenges in stride and not succumbing to the problems life posed. With every new difficulty, she discovered new qualities and more positivity within herself.

Aysha stresses that a certain amount of ‘me’ time is essential for a person’s wellbeing. She believes in doing simple things like having a ritual for keeping her skin refreshed and cleansed, drinking lots of water throughout the day, and ensuring physical activity thrice a week. “I have started going for yoga classes because prevention is always better than cure. Also, the day my skin looks good and I’m wearing nice clothes, I feel energetic. The day I feel good about myself I’m ready to go and take on the world”.

Most people around her never believed that she could both raise a child and be successful at work. But her miracle moment proves that she has done an incredible job in both. She recalls the day she got a call from her daughter’s school that some parents want to meet the mother who is raising such a wonderful daughter was a magical feeling Aysha will never forget.

She ends by proclaiming, “I believe in love, I believe in magic, and I believe in miracles”.  Her spirit is evident in those words and it’s obvious that there is a great deal of magic about her.

Yasmin Sheikh

Yasmin-Shaikh

She is a creative designer

She is a mother and a daughter

She is fearless

Yasmin has had quite the journey, spanning across different countries, different people and enriching experiences.  She grew up in East Pakistan, spent the major chunk of her married life in England and is finally settled in Karachi to look after her ailing mother. During her time in England, she immersed herself in designing and gained experience with the likes of Paul Smith and Lulu Guinness, among many others. Looking after her mother who is ninety years old and has been bed-ridden for sixteen years, she currently runs a sampling house in Karachi and additionally also acts as a creative teacher and mentor for those who are eager to learn from her experiences.

Yasmin’s latest breakthrough experience was working on the new PIA uniform with Nomi Ansari and Sania Maskatiya.  Yasmin feels that this merger of three designers and the amazing PIA team was an adventure for everyone. She explains that “We tried to work a whole year but somehow couldn’t do it till July. That is when I was called in and put to test for the 14th August deadline. I had only two weeks to put it all together and too me it was a miracle that it happened. Working with a big organisation was a different experience as you had to know the two ends of the rope to tie the knot, from the top to the ones below whose hard work is never seen at the front end.”

The biggest challenge for Yasmin has always been dividing herself between her work, and family responsibilities. “There are times when even 24 hours aren’t enough,” she laughs. She believes that the ladder to success starts from having faith in yourself and your work and it is very important to keep a balance in life to achieve that. To keep this balance, she decided not to get into “unnecessary situations that would consume her energy” by giving up on excessive socialising. “My mother’s home is my workplace. She sees me all day and that keeps her happy and me satisfied.” she explains. Yasmin’s extra time is therefore spent on looking after her mother’s medical needs, tending to her children’s emotional requirements, staying on top of things that are priority and maintaining her peace.

Yasmin explains that her housework is her exercise. She has no help at her apartment and having the home to herself leaves her free of stress. As far as ageing is concerned, she agrees that it is something that most women are petrified of but she has decided to take it as it comes. She drinks a lot of water and keeps her spirit young to stay fresh.

Yasmin believes that it is essential for a woman to be emotionally independent. “As long as you depend on other people emotionally, you are in trouble,” she says. She adds that more than financial independence, it is imperative for a woman to know how to manage the finances of the family sensibly. For Yasmin, the key to a woman’s strength is education and a skill that she can turn into a profession if need be.  Education will also help a woman be a better mother as teaching begins at home.

Miracle Woman Yasmin Shaikh’s journey is an example of how one should embrace the challenges as well as the unpredictable changes life poses before us. One can succumb to difficult situations and break down or accept them without fear, find practical solutions and emerge as a winner.

Misha Lakhani

Misha-Lakhani

She is a fashion designer

She is a mother

She is thoughtful

Misha Lakhani, one of the most well known fashion designers in the country, founded a women’s wear brand almost four years ago. Her passion changed the fashion industry and her life. But she is not just defined by her work, but also the various roles that she plays on a daily basis. She is juggling her work along with being a wife, a daughter in law, a friend and a mother of two children.

According to Misha, “The more roles you take on in life, you keep adding to your plate. Being a wife, a daughter in law and mother added more especially with my work. Juggling all of that can be a bit of a challenge. There are little fires that keep erupting constantly but you need to keep moving ahead and manage time really well so you are able to be there for whatever is a priority in life.” Although Misha explains that there are fires on and off, she herself is a hydrant, always dealing with tough situations easily and calming those around her. Her children and her family are priority and she has planned her work hours accordingly, so that she can give her maximum to those who matter the most. She feels she is lucky that she started her label before she got married as she was able to put in the long hours a business in its infancy requires before the responsibilities of marriage entered the equation.

Misha looks for little miracles every day. “I think that is what matters, finding those tiny miracles every day instead of that big moment.” For her, it is ideal for a woman to be financially independent but in being so also requires tremendous support from her family and her spouse. If, however, a woman chooses to not work, she must not be judged. It is a matter of personal preference. As far as ageing is concerned, being a fashion designer she understands the importance of clothes that make you stand out, feel great and cast an impression. She is a firm believer of the fact that one looks as good as one feels. If one keeps doing the things that make him or her feel good, age will not matter. However, to be healthy, Misha ensures she works out regularly.

If given the chance to do anything differently, Misha says she would like to experience life just as she has and wouldn’t wish for anything to be different or change. “Everything is a learning experience and the reason you are where you are today is because of the things you did.” It is tough being a working mother but for Misha, the gains outweigh the pains. With her journey she inspires women to go out there and get what they want because determined women surely can have everything.

Shehnaz Kehar

Shahnaz-Kehar

She is a pathologist.

She is a mother.

She is sensitive.

Shahnaz got married within six months of her graduation from Dow Medical College. Her marriage, however, did not stop her from powering through life to arrive where she aspired to be. She exudes professionalism, strength and intelligence. She gave birth to her first child during her house job and to her younger two children during post-graduation. She has been associated with Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre for almost three decades now with an impressive twenty five MPhil thesis to her credit as a professor.

Her struggles in life involved dealing with the loss of her mother at a young age, catering to her elderly father and mother-in-law, and now caring for her ailing sister-in-law. Her dedication to her career in medicine, however, remains unwavered. “There have been responsibilities and issues with work but I was able to handle them with the support of my husband and in-laws” she says. What makes her stand out as a miracle woman today is the way she faced the combination of these difficulties and came out a stronger mother, wife and professional. Shahnaz trusts that “where there is a will, there is a way,” and adds that the one quality that is undoubtedly the stepping-stone to success in life is dedication.

Shahnaz’s formula to achieve the perfect work-life balance rests on a husband and wife duo working together as a team. She is grateful that she has never had to make the choice between motherhood and work. Her pride lies in being able to look back and say with confidence that she has given a lot of time to her children. She displays her positive outlook on life by saying “no doubt, there are times when you are emotionally weak, tired and sick but I have now crossed that critical age with my children. As long as you are sensitive to the people around you and dedicated to work, things work out on their own”.

One thing Shahnaz gives a lot of importance to, as a professional woman, is grooming. “You should look nice and smell good”, she says. She follows a strict skincare and cleansing regime. She adds that she likes to take out a few moments to lay out her clothes, bags and shoes the night before and get everything personal in order to take on the morning headfirst.

When it comes to emotional independence, Shahnaz believes that it is impossible for a mother to be so. “There is no such thing”, she says, “You do get emotionally disturbed. You just need to regulate yourself and face things”. As far as financial independence is concerned, however, she relies on it as an outlet for satisfaction and happiness and believes that not having to ask anyone for money gives you confidence. In line with this belief, she marks her daughter’s graduation as an architect, her own miracle moment in life. In the end she reiterates that professional empowerment and liberation of women is what will take Pakistan forward.

 

Almas Haider
Author

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