What does life as a woman or girl look like in your part of the world? What roles do women play in your society?
Most women in this part of the world are housewives. The ratio of working women and especially entrepreneurs is very less in this part of the world as compared to the rest of the world. But with time, the role of women is evolving to be more than just a house woman. Many females are enrolling themselves in multiple fields like blogging, social media marketing, teaching, banking, engineering, medical fields, and even the military.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to women empowerment and/or gender equality today?
The biggest barrier to gender equality is the lack of education and the influences of culture. Both men and women need to be educated on why gender equality is important and how it can even affect them if they do not focus on this particular point. Both genders need to uplift each other and make each other's lives easier, regardless of what the cultural norms and values convey, and this can only be achieved by giving the right type of education.
Who are YOU & what should the world know about you?
My name is Maira Azam. I'm 23 years old and I am Muslim. I live in Pakistan.
Describe yourself in one word: "I am... Optimistic
What are you most passionate about and what are you doing with that passion?
I'm most passionate about photography and traveling. I'm actually living my passion as I started my own little production setup called Meem Productions. I provide my production services to a travel agency called Innovators so I travel and click photos and that’s the kind of life I always wanted to live!
What are some of the most notable events (milestones) that have happened in your life to date?
The biggest milestone that I have achieved yet is the experience I got from working with the World Health Organization. I worked as a vendor for them and provided them with my production services for their Measles Campaign in Pakistan.
What obstacles have you faced and overcome?
The biggest obstacle that I had and I think it’s still there is… my parents. My parents are a little conservative, they didn't want me to work so convincing them to do a job, and then business was really a tough job. The second obstacle is that production is mostly a male-dominated field and you would find even less females handling the camera and editing stuff in this part of the world. So making a space in the market between all these men was another obstacle that I'm happy that I've overcome.
Looking externally into the public sphere, what female public figure inspires you the most to achieve your dreams & why?
I don’t have many females around working but there are some women who inspire me, in my field particularly. They are so creative and amazing that you actually feel proud of them. One of them is Palwasha Minhas, who is Karachi-based wedding photographer, and the way her husband helps her in her business makes them couples goals. The other one is Rida Shah from Karachi, she mostly works in manipulation and I've never met any other manipulation artist as bold and as confident in their work.
What's your definition of success?
Success for me is to keep on growing. The day you think you've grown enough, the graph of success for you would start falling. And this growth can only occur by pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone in suitable intervals.
How have the women and girls around you helped you to get to where you are today?
My sisters are the girls around me who helped me a lot to be where I am right now. They actually helped me convince my parents for everything I wanted to do in my life. Secondly, my best friend Rameen Syed, is always my motivation. She herself is a news anchor, and she always told me that I do not belong in a 9-5 routine and I should start my own venture where I can always bring something new. Moreover, there are a number of other women that I meet whenever I travel who tell me their stories of struggle and they all collectively help me to grow as a person as well.
Complete this sentence: "To be a girl or woman today..." and always is a privilege. My grandmother used to say that if a woman decides that she wants to climb a mountain, no force on earth can stop her. Every girl has this strength that if she takes an initiative, she can achieve it, and for me, it’s a privilege.