Pakistani women are more than just meek housewives Xperience Pakistan Lifestyle

Pakistani women are more than just meek housewives


 Source of image: Wikipedia / The News

From left to right pictures are of Malala Yousufzai, youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy (Two time Oscar winner for her short films which she makes to counter social and cultural taboos) & Namira Salim (First Pakistani to have reached the North Pole, the South Pole and the first Asian to have sky-dived off Mount Everest.

First Impressions

When the West think of Pakistani women, they always type cast us into being meek, submissive and timid women, who lack education and have no voice. It's kind of ironic given we've had a female Prime Minister. 

What's frustrating is I know that of all the adjectives, meek and uneducated are not ones that you would use for me or my Pakistani female friends, whether here in the UK or in Pakistan.

The narrative used to describe us needs to become broader, there are an increasing number of educated women in Pakistan, not just educated but working professionals & entrepreneurs whether in the creative field or fintech. 

At Xperience Pakistan, we work with a number of Pakistani Female business owners from Madia Hamid, Founder of Chefling Tales who curates our food tours to Samia Ali who is the brains behind our Truck Art Collection.

Where does the problem stem from?

The problem is partly that many of the Pakistani families in the UK came here in the 1940s / 50s and their mindset has frozen in that time. Some of those who came have not kept abreast of what is happening in Pakistan and feel it's not culturally correct to educate their women or let them have an opinion, yet that this is a cultural mindset that in many cities in Pakistan would be deemed as backwards. 

Unfortunately women belonging to these kind of families is what the Western Media chooses to focus on rather than the Pakistani women, who not only are contributing to the UK economy through their taxes but also ones who have high disposable income and are high net worth consumers. Pakistani women are huge spenders not just on fashion and personal grooming, I speak from knowledge I have of my circle of contacts and various social media groups I'm in but also services such as hospitality and travel.

It wasn't just working class families that came to the UK

Amongst the influx of working class Pakistanis that came to the UK, there were also professional families like the one I come from, that came in the 70s that were employed by banks. My father came to the UK as a banker with Habib Bank, our whole social circle was made up of other banker families. In our network, it was a given that all of us would go to University and we were encouraged to think about our career paths and to pursue these. In my case I went back to Pakistan when I was 16 and then my parents supported my ambition to return to the UK to get my degree. After which I went on to get an MBA and pursue a career in Marketing and Consultancy. Many of my cousins in Pakistan have a masters, the majority of my friends with whom I went to college with in Pakistan are working either in Pakistan or Canada where some of them have migrated.

Times have changed, therefore so does the Western Narrative

In the cities of Pakistan, it is now very common for both partners to work due to a combination of increase in cost of living but also because women want to pursue a career.

Since becoming an entrepreneur and joining the British Pakistan Foundation, I have come across so many Pakistani women who are active in UK politics, the legal profession, charities and causes that they are fighting for. I would like the Western Media to speak to one of us and use their platform to showcase the positive impact we are having on British society rather than repeatedly highlighting the Pakistani women who aren't integrating as such cases I believe can be found in all communities, including Caucasians. 

How are we championing it at Xperience Pakistan Lifestyle

As a Pakistani woman I feel I need to champion this along with the other Pakistani women around the world who have been on this journey longer than me. I choose to do this by highlighting and showcasing all the great work Pakistani women are doing either through the promotion of their graphic work for our products or through their products eg. our Truck Art Collection.

Next time you think of Pakistani women, I would appreciate it if you considered a greater selection of adjectives for us, which also included confident, ambitious, determined and educated.

I am going to leave you with this link from the National Geographic, which shows some of the rare coverage by Western Media to show a side of Pakistan that the BBC often fails to show.

You may also be interested in reading 10 First Pakistani Women to hit major milestones.

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