• 28 Dec - 03 Jan, 2020
  • Eman Saleem
  • Spotlight

2019 – Year of the Woman. Why thank you, women finally got a year with just one candidate on the opposite side. *insert eye roll* This era is female, our voices louder than before, our actions bolder than ever, stereotypes smashed, age-old standards debunked and heads held higher. With massive movements that garnered attention across the globe, this year the fight against discrimination, oppression and inequality raged on, sending waves to every woman out there to find her voice and claim more space in the world. Ending the year, is a shout out to every woman out there who made it happen. Here’s every woman MAG is celebrating. Stay with us.

Iqra Aziz for turning down a fairness cream commercial

Aziz made the news multiple times this year but our absolute favourite, head over heels moment was when the LSA winner gave the boot to a whitening cream commercial that offered a hefty compensation. We are so done with these commercials endorsing paper-white complexions and are increasingly disappointed in celebrities that still become the face of these brands. So this one’s for Iqra Aziz, for being a conscious and responsible influencer.

Pakistan’s debut at Milan Fashion Week

Pakistani fashion makes its big debut on one of the most prestigious ramps. Opening for the Haitian-Italian designer and Giorgio Armani’s protégé Stella Jean, was supermodel Mushk Kaleem, bringing the colours and near-sacred handcraft of Kalash community to one of the fashion capitals and Alicia Khan in a luxe jersey with “Chitral 20” on it. The collection featured numbers that were hand-embroidered, an art endangered at the Chitral Women’s Handicraft Center by local women. This was a win for supermodels who earned their big break at international ramps with big labels, for women of the North in Pakistan that were empowered to showcase their art and talent and cater to international markets and most importantly, for art that was going to be lost to history.

Mahira khan chosen UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan

Mahira, our ‘it’ girl, is on a roll bagging ‘firsts’ one after the other. This year, the Raees actress dazzled in her rock chic look at the Paris Fashion Week and shook a leg with Helen Mirren! But if you thought that would be it from the nation-favourite superstar, then nope, because Mahira Khan was named Goodwill Ambassador by UNHCR, a prestigious acknowledgment and recognition of her humanitarian efforts. And besides this, we swooned on her rocking saris throughout the year because nobody can do it like her.

Eman Suleman for her wit, acumen and general badass-ery

She may have opted out of her nomination for “Best Emerging Talent” at the LSA’s this year, setting in motion a movement within the industry itself to stand up (or sit out) prestigious platforms shared with alleged harassers, but there is no inkling of a doubt that Suleman was, indeed, the best emergent talent of this year. From her video of ousting seductive mango eating ads to rocking her shaved head, she won Instagram in 2019. 

Jameela Jamil bags a win against diet pills

Jamil made headlines with frequency this year and each one made us yell “Queen” louder than the last time. Vocal about mental health and body-image issues, she opened up about her own eating disorders in an interview and took up the fight against diet pills and other related products being advertised online. In an unprecedented move, Instagram finally succumbed and announced in September that no diet products will be advertised to users below 18. Jamil won one for all of us!

Mehwish Hayat for holding foreign film industries accountable for their actions

The year started off with criticism over being awarded Tamgha-e-Imtiaz for the actress, but her powerful speech at the Oslo Award Ceremony where she was honoured with the Pride of Performance award made her the new face of Pakistani representation from Lollywood. In her speech, she laid out how Bollywood and Hollywood sell flicks at the expense of the Pakistani image on the world stage where they could have been instead promoted peace. Hayat, a voice of sanity and substance in the film industry, was appointed the Goodwill Ambassador for the rights of the girl child. Nearing the end of the year being listed in the top 10 Sexiest Asian Women, she responded in a tweet saying the ranking based on physical attributes was derogatory and should be based on merit and talent instead. Hayat, is on a roll!

Aisha Butt for shutting up mom shamers

An incredibly powerful picture made rounds on social media; an ASP taking complaints at the police station and simultaneously caring for her eight-month old daughter, captioned “It is difficult but not impossible.” Aisha Butt, also the youngest CSS passed police officer, won one for all of us busting the “work OR home” myth and proving you can indeed do it all. On a woman’s service in the force, the ASP said, “make excellence, not gender, your identity.”

Special mentions

This goes out to every girl out there who raised her voice on social media against vendors of marriages that strip women of their rights, like Mrs Khan to come and apologise on national TV for her derogatory and misogynist views because it’s good for business. United, women proved that no oppressive remarks are going to go unpunished and perpetrators will be held accountable for their choice of words.

Hajra Khan representing Pakistani football for women at EPF initiative in France

Woman football in Pakistan has long been just a formality for Pakistan Football Federation and putting up a fight for every aspiring women out there is Hajra Khan, captain of the nation football team who garnered three Guiness World Records to her name and has been internationally acclaimed as a rising athlete. She partook in the Equal Playing Field Initiative in France for gender balanced representation in football. Khan was recorded saying, “It’s not about breaking world records and scoring goals. It’s about why I do it. For Pakistan, for inequality in sports.” Khan is on the ladder that only goes up and in her football career, has been a loud voice against gender inequality and motivates and urges girls to embrace their dreams in athletics with the promise of reality.