LAHORE: Living in the 21st century, we all aspire for equality; most of us want equal rights for men and women, but consciously or unconsciously people still categorize women as the bread makers rather than the breadwinners of a household.
The idea of empowerment is visible in all sorts of societal interactions. However, in developing countries like Pakistan, women are still oppressed. They hardly ever fight or stand up for their rights.
The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) on Saturday organised a one-day interactive conference highlighting female role models and making women and youth aware of the importance of empowering women. The conference emphasised that an empowered woman is one who is self-confident, critically analyses her environment, and has control over the decisions that affect her life.
The conference was titled ‘I Am Tomorrow’, a brand that was launched in Europe last year and has since hit major cities all across the globe. Moreover, it has become a mainstream platform to discover female role models, women-led start-ups and also to discuss tech, investments, business, arts, life etc. over TED-style talks, panel discussions, start-up pitches, and workshops.
The event started with Aurélie Salvaire giving the keynote speech in which she said that shame should be felt in being a sexist not a feminist and stressed on women empowerment. She said that selective feminism is alright, provided that you understand what being a ‘feminist’ is because we all need a balance in the world, and that is exactly what feminism is about.
Different panel discussions and talks were held during the conference including a ‘Change Makers’ panel where the panellists talked about how they are breaking barriers for women to succeed in specific fields. Moreover, how the employers are providing the women with a harassment//discrimination-free environment at work so they are able to grow as much as their male counterparts.
Notable talks included photographer and Play Create Celebrate CEO Tamara Robeer, entrepreneur Seyham Vahidy and transgender speaker Jannat Ali. The women spoke about their inspiring stories and how they changed their life for the better.
While speaking to Pakistan Today about the event, Seyham Vahidy said, “The event ‘I Am Tomorrow’ is an enlightening platform for youth, women and men to connect and share their stories to inspire others along the way.”
“The audience was very receptive and every single story was inspirational, I am so humbled to be a part of this event,” she added.
While talking about the importance of such events Seyham said that: “It is important for society as a whole to be educated and kind to bring a substantial change in society. That can only happen when we accept and support all genders, minorities and age groups that exist in our society.”
Another panel discussion was that of ‘women leaders’ where panellists Pepsi Marketing Manager Muneeza Anwar, interior designer Zara Zaman, Rimsha Farouk, Hamna Tahir and Zenith Irfan talked about their journey in their respective fields and how have they been smashing the glass ceilings.
The reason that this panel discussion inspired so many people from the audience was that each woman in the panel was from a different walk of life and each with a different set of struggles and determination that brought them to where they are right now.
Zara, while talking to the audience, said that the kindness is one thing that will keep you going. “Moreover, you have to respect each and every human being, because it not only helps you in the long run but helps you to become a better human being,” she added.
Furthermore, other panellists shared that the men have to let go of their egos if their partner is earning well and doing good in their fields but be supportive so they can get a chance to celebrate the small successes in life. Lastly, one must never stop dreaming and continue working towards their passions.
The event concluded with a stand-up comedy segment by Yusra Amjad.