Chapter 24

Huma Baqai:

Redefining the Role of Pakistani Women – Power of Resilience


Seema Khalid

University of Karachi, Pakistan






The world is buzzing around the ever-increasing complexities of organizational life due to the expanded spans across the globe, and technology disruption has created an increased velocity and pace. The aftermath of the pandemic has further worsened the business and global scenario. This all calls for all leaders in general and women in particular to show up with resilience to mark the land with success. Women with power have less acceptance in general, and this demands us to give due projection to all those who have been successfully through with all the challenges with a visible show of resilience. Dr. Huma Baqai is a symbol of perseverance, a person who succeeded to consolidate her footprints with dignity on almost all grounds she stepped! Drawing on the enlightening stories of Dr. Baqai, the author brings together the best of both Western management thinking and Eastern philosophy to provide a holistic yet hands-on approach that can easily be replicated by those women who want to proceed with dignity and success both in their personal and professional lives.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-2490-2.ch024

Copyright © 2022, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.

Huma Baqai

Figure 1. Huma Baqai, digital sketch based off a public image



The struggle for women’s empowerment has been a long journey and an even longer battle, one which has yet to be turned into a victory. The status of women in Pakistan goes with a visible difference due to rural–urban divide and their socio-economic demographics. Even though the dream of solidifying one’s footprints through knowledge and power has been coming to better light in an urban community, the rural areas tell a different story where the beacon of women empowerment and knowledge has had barriers. Our nation is buzzing around the ever-increasing complexities due to countless disruption and setbacks, bringing uninvited difficulties specifically for women, who in many cases have not learned to live out from under the shadow of a man.

It is generally known that women make up almost half of the total population in Pakistan as of 2021, however due to traditions, religious and cultural practices, women have not been allowed to enter into mainstream activities in the economic spheres. In spite of all the religious and constitutional backings: “Women shall have similar rights” (The Quran 2:228), religious scholars also agree that at the onset of Islam in the early 600s CE, the Prophet Muhammed expanded women’s rights to include inheritance, property, and marriage rights. Article 34 of the Constitution of Pakistan states, “Steps shall be taken to ensure full participation of women in all spheres of national life.” The overall attitude of the society is conservative and medieval. They are still not ready to give equal rights to women; the hard-liners see it as if it would undermine the religion. Others opine that minimizing the disparity and creating balance in the distribution of rights is likely to lead to a demand by women for increased power and equality (Easterly, 2001, p. 24).

There is little economic empowerment for women in Pakistan, and hence they are still at the mercy of saibaan, a native word that explains the significant position of a family member, usually a male (e.g., a father, husband, or son), describing him as the one who protects and supports the family, leaving women






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