The Hum Network Limited held a press conference at a local hotel here on Tuesday to launch the logo of the Hum Women Leaders Award, said to be the first of its kind, to honour and pay homage to local and international women achievers that will be held at Governor House on Feb 19.

On the occasion, president of Hum Network Limited Sultana Siddiqui said that the entertainment produced by their network also carried a positive and noteworthy message.

“Because working for the media comes with a responsibility. We have been holding our annual Hum Awards out of the country, too, for the purpose of showing the world our culture and traditions while highlighting a good image of our country,” she said.

Coming to the Hum Women Leaders Award, she said that women in any role, be it the role of a mother, sister, daughter or wife is always someone who makes the universe and the world go round. “We need to celebrate them,” she said. “Yes, there is International Women’s Day on March 8 to do that but I still feel that we don’t celebrate women the way we should,” she said, while adding that the awards were going to be an annual occurrence.

“We will be holding the awards annually, not just in Pakistan but internationally as well,” she said before thanking her advisory committee for guiding them in this new endeavour.

She also thanked the governor of Sindh for letting them use the Governor House premises for holding of the first Hum Women Leaders Award, adding that she was also grateful to the President of Pakistan Arif Alvi for consenting to be the chief guest on the occasion. “The programme will run over two days with a panel discussion on February 18 and the awards taking place on 19,” she said.

Ameena Saiyid, a member of the awards’ advisory committee, said that there were several reasons behind the establishing of the award such as acknowledging and recognising the contribution of women, correcting the image of women in Pakistan and giving them respect and to project role models to look up to which will lead to the empowering of women.

Senior journalist Rehana Hakim, who is also on the advisory committee, said that it was interesting to be on the jury and be informed about the wonderful women, the seniors among whom have a body of work to speak of their achievements and the younger ones who are just emerging to make names for themselves. “It will also be interesting to see how these women have broken the glass ceiling. There are so many of them deserving of the award,” she said.

Amin Hashwani of I Am Karachi, another member of the award’s advisory committee, said that role models were essential for the youth.

“We have a big population of youth, especially girls here and they need to look up to a diverse group of women who have done great work in art, sports and several other fields thanks to their courage and resistance. There are so many unsung heroines in Pakistan and it is important to bring them out and celebrate them,” he said.

Dr Huma Baqai, who is also on the advisory committee, agreed that women needed to be celebrated.

“There is no woman here who reaches a position without a fight, and it is about time we celebrate them. And what’s better than to have this award come from Sultana Siddiqui, who has struggled to reach where she has and is herself an inspiration for so many other women,” she said.

Originally published in Dawn, February 12th, 2020