International Women’s Day: Famous Women of Pakistan

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s important to recognise the contributions and accomplishments of women around the world who continue to break barriers and pave the way for future generations.

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Learn More has highlighted the outstanding contributions of Pakistani women who are leaders in various fields including agriculture, health, and technology.

From architects to activists, firefighters to footballers, these women are making a significant impact nationally and internationally, and serve as role models for females worldwide. Their achievements are also a testament to the strength and resilience of Pakistani citizens. 


What Is Women’s Day?

In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly designated March 8th as International Women’s Day to recognise and celebrate the accomplishments of women in different fields.

List of Famous Women of Pakistan

Some of the most famous women of Pakistan are as follows

Dr. Sania Nishtar – Health and Development Leader


Sania Nishtar in a press conference


Dr. Sania Nishtar is a highly respected leader in global health and development, currently serving as the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection.

Her deep understanding of her field and passion for her work have led her to successfully spearhead the government’s flagship social protection program, Ehsaas, which aims to improve the livelihoods of millions of Pakistanis and promote women’s empowerment.

Dr. Nishtar’s efforts focus on reducing the wealth gap, protecting the country’s most vulnerable population, and improving healthcare systems in Pakistan. With a Ph.D. from King’s College London, she has received numerous national and international accolades for her work.

Dr. Sarah Qureshi – Aerospace Engineer


Dr. Sarah Qureshi sitting in a craft


Dr Sarah Qureshi is a trailblazer for women in the field of aerospace engineering, a field where women are underrepresented, particularly in technical and leadership positions.

She is currently working on developing the world’s first contrail-free aircraft engine, with the goal of reducing aviation’s impact on global warming and making air travel more environmentally friendly.

With a Master’s degree in Aerospace Dynamics and a PhD in Aerospace Propulsion from Cranfield University in the UK, she is well-equipped for this pioneering work.

Sana Mir – Cricket Star


Sana Mir posing in a cricket kit


Sana Mir is a pioneering figure in the world of women’s cricket in Pakistan, known for her exceptional skills, leadership, and determination. As the CEO of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Wasim Khan stated, “Sana Mir has been the face of Pakistan women’s cricket for many years and a natural source of inspiration for the young generation of women cricketers.

Through her determination and passion, Sana broke the glass ceiling for women cricketers in the country.” She reached the top spot in women’s ODI rankings in 2018 and has played 226 international matches, 137 of them as captain, since her debut in 2005.

Mir is one of only 9 women cricketers to have taken 100 ODI wickets and one of the 5 women to score 1,000 runs in ODI matches. She was ranked ninth among bowlers and was called the most successful female spinner at the time of her retirement at the age of 34.

Nigar Johar – Pakistan’s First Woman Three-Star General


Nigar Johar Pakistan’s First Woman Three-Star Generalun in her uniform


Lieutenant General Nigar Johar has made history as the first woman three-star general in Pakistan’s history. She was promoted to this rank in 2020 and was also appointed as the first female surgeon general of the Pakistan Army.

Hailing from the Swabi district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, she began her journey as a cadet in 1981. She also holds the distinction of being the first woman officer to be given command of an armed forces hospital. She is the first lieutenant general in the region as well as the Muslim world. 

Muniba Mazari – Activist, Artist, Motivational Speaker


Muniba Mazari smiling on a wheel chair during TED talk


Muniba Mazari is a role model for many in Pakistan. She is the country’s first UN Goodwill Ambassador for advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women. Mazari is a multi-talented individual, who is a writer, artist, singer, activist and motivational speaker. 

Her life took a drastic turn at the age of 21 when a car accident left her paralysed. Despite the pain and adversity, she turned her experience into strength and connected with others who are in the same situation.

This experience led her to become an activist, advocating for females who have experienced discrimination or violence, raising awareness about child violence and abuse, and supporting children’s education. People know the wheelchair-bound activist as the “Iron Woman of Pakistan” because she can shatter the glass ceiling despite her physical limitations.


Parveen Rahman – Social Activist and Hero of the Poor


Parveen Rahman pointing on a map


Parveen Rahman dedicated her life to improving the lives of those living in poverty in Pakistan. She joined the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) in 1982. She worked tirelessly to develop impoverished neighbourhoods, particularly in Karachi’s Orangi Town, one of the world’s largest informal settlements.

Through her efforts, she empowered poor communities to advocate for their rights. Despite facing opposition and death threats, she persisted in her mission until her tragic death in 2013. Her legacy continues to inspire those who strive to make a positive impact in their communities.

Yasmeen Lari – Pakistan’s First Female Architect


A portrait of Yasmeen Lari sitting in a white dress


Yasmeen Lari, Pakistan’s first female architect, made a name for herself in the early 1990s by designing iconic buildings such as the Taj Mahal Hotel, Finance and Trade Centre, and Pakistan State Oil House in a field traditionally dominated by men.

However, the 2005 earthquake led her to shift her focus towards providing affordable and sustainable housing for marginalised communities. She developed a low-cost, carbon-free building technique using renewable materials, becoming a leading provider of disaster relief structures.

Through her foundation, she has constructed over 50,000 homes for those affected by floods and earthquakes in Pakistan since 2010. They recognized her contributions in 2020 by awarding her the prestigious architecture award, the Jane Drew Prize.


Jehan Ara – Tech Leader


Jehan Ara smiling in a press conference


Jehan Ara, the President of P@SHA, is a leader in the technology industry in Pakistan. She has a wealth of experience in marketing, communications and interactive new media. Jehan Ara have worked in various countries such as Pakistan, Hong Kong, the UAE and the Far East.

She is passionate about using technology to empower communities and has been advocating for online privacy and data protection legislation. Additionally, she has initiated the Women’s Virtual Network.

This network aims to connect educated women with potential employers, mentors and peers remotely. The main focus is to increase the number of Pakistani women in the workforce and support professional women.

Shazia Parveen – Pakistan’s First Female Firefighter


Shazia perveen standing infront of firetrucks


As Pakistan’s first female firefighter, Shazia Parveen has made history in a traditionally male-dominated field. At just 22 years old, she joined the rescue service in 2010 in the district of Vehari in Punjab. Driven by a passion to serve the public and save lives, she has tackled fires in both fields and factories.

In addition to her firefighting duties, Parveen has also served as an instructor at the PESA in Lahore. She was encouraged to see many of her students were young women. She believes that her profession is empowering, and hopes that it will inspire other Pakistani girls to pursue non-traditional careers.


Malala Yousafzai- Education Activist


Malala Yousafzai smiling for a portrait


Malala Yousafzai is a famous personality of Pakistan and human rights activist from Pakistan who advocates for girls’ education. She is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate and has become a prominent figure in the fight for education rights.

Malala began her activism at a young age. She started speaking out against the Taliban’s restrictions on girls’ education in her home region of Swat Valley, Pakistan. In 2012, Taliban gunmen shot her in the head while she was returning home from school.

Luckily, she survived and continued her advocacy work. She has since founded the Malala Fund, an organisation that supports girls’ education initiatives around the world.

She has become a leading voice in the fight for universal education. Malala continues to be an inspiration to people around the world. She serves as a symbol of the importance of education and the power of youth activism.

For more information, visit Graana blog.

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