Last night, a group of 100 extraordinary women gathered at Mohatta Palace for the Pond’s Miracle Women Grand Gala. The event acclaimed the 100 women chosen as Pond’s Miracle Women for this year. The diverse crowd featured women who have excelled in many different fields and included doctors, businesswomen, artists, bakers, designers and actresses.
|Pond’s Miracle Mentors|
The Pond’s 100 Miracle Women have been chosen by a group of 10 ‘mentors’ – all iconic, high-achieving Pakistani women. Although a few of the women were high-profile members of the fashion and media world, there were many ‘unsung’ heroes – women who had quietly been achieving the extraordinary.
What was, in effect a marketing exercise, was turned into something much more. It’s great to see international brands like Pond’s put their huge marketing budgets to a better use than merely TV commercials, billboards or meaningless concerts. The whole concept behind Pond’s Miracle Women campaign is celebrating and encouraging women’s empowerment.
The 100 selected as “Miracle Women” includes women like FBR director Zeb Gul, Bayview Principal Safia Shaikh, Eye Surgeon Mehnaz Shah and baker Shama Askari. These are the sort of women who have succeeded despite the odds, in a country and working environment that remains deeply resistant to gender equality. It’s refreshing to see what is essentially a beauty brand take up the cause that there is more to femininity that looking pretty and domestic prowess.
There was, however, plenty of beauty at the event. The red carpet heaved with pretty women and gorgeous outfits. Zeba Bakhtiar stood out in a stunning Ayesha Farook Hashwani cape, worn over a simple black sari. Sara Shahid rocked a black number and Shamaeel Ansari was elegant in an embroidered white tunic from here new store. Click here to view all the red carpet pictures.
|Zeba Bakhtiar in a black sari and Ayesha F. Hashwani cape|
The media and fashion types weren’t the only ones bringing glamour to the red carpet. Studio X instructor Jeanette Farooqi also chose a Ayesha Farook Hashwani cape and Canvas Gallery owner Sameera Raja sparkled in Sana Safinaz.
|Jeanette of Studio X|
|Sameera Raja in Sana Safinaz|
Dr. Kulsoom Ghias looked fabulous in a Sanam Chaudri cape while jewellery designer Kiran Aman chose a Shehla Chatoor sari. It may not be politic to say so, but most women realise that you are taken more seriously if you dress well, no matter what your field.
|More fabulous Pond’s Miracle Women|
The gala itself was consistent with the depth of thought behind the campaign. After the extensive red carpet session, the evening began with a moment of silence in remembrance of the Peshawar victims and, especially, their mothers. Then Imran Aslam and Zeba Bakhtiar performed a little skit that highlighted the sort of questions working women face. It particularly mentioned how women get lost in their roles and rishtas – as wives, mothers, daughters and daughters-in-law.
The 100 women were introduced in groups of 20, in a way that emphasized the struggles that women go through to succeed. Instead of highlighting their achievements, they were introduced with clips of interviews that asked them about the challenges they had faced, their views of family and how they juggled their various responsibilities. What emerged was a picture of women who prioritise their children, who value their family life deeply and who have all faced the struggle of balancing work and family commitments. It was an inspired way to introduce the women and showed how witty, engaging and dedicated they universally were, despite their diversity.
Many lauded the families who have supported and enabled their success but, although this was a ‘plus one’ event, there were remarkably few men – perhaps 20% in total, if that. There were several reasons for this – some good, some questionable. The early start meant that many spouses were handling bedtime for children on what was, after all, a school night. Some women cited the fact that the fact that it wasn’t made clear till very late that husbands were invited. Others mentioned the change of date due to the Peshawar incident or their spouse’s work commitments. Several women chose to bring their mothers and what seemed to be an event more for women. Most of the women commented how supportive their spouses are. It would have been nice to see more of their menfolk at an event where their wives’ achievements were being honoured.
Despite this, the evening had a remarkably positive energy. The videos introducing the Miracle women were interspersed with short performances by the likes of Zoe Viccajji and Humera Chana. There was plenty of time to mingle with some brilliant, intelligent women from all over Pakistan.
Sadia Khan, who recently received a French Knighthood (she’s a Chevalier de L’Ordre National du Merite), is one of the Miracle women. She’s a certified director and the founder at CEO of an Export Management company, Selar Enterprises. She summed up the whole experience:
“I was initially skeptical about the whole exercise but it really has been about honouring unsung heroes. About acknowledging the struggle that women face to maintain a work life balance and about the unique challenges they face. It’s been an opportunity to meet many fascinating women. I really do think that they also need to introduce a 100 Miracle Men though – men who support their partners and men who take an equal share of domestic and childrearing responsibilities.”
Pond’s announced that their 100 Miracle Women will be a yearly affair and asked each of the winners to nominate someone for next year. Hopefully the initiative will bring forward more exceptional women, encourage more gender equality and celebrate the eternal struggle of the working woman.
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