Zainab Ali Khan, Founding Working Group Member of Every Woman Treaty, is a Gender Specialist with over 10 years of work experience in the Development and Corporate sectors of Pakistan. Belonging to a conservative family, Ms Ali Khan had to fight for her right to a foreign education. She is the first woman in her family to be sent abroad for further education. Ms Ali Khan’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine (USA) in English Literature with a minor in Women’s Studies. She also holds a Master’s degree from the University of Toronto (Canada) in Women and Gender Studies. Ms Ali Khan was awarded full scholarships for both degrees. During her time at the Women and Gender Institute of University of Toronto, Ms Ali Khan extensively researched honor crimes in Pakistan for her dissertation entitled, “Honor Crimes in Pakistan: A Critical Analysis of the Zina and Qisas & Diyat Ordinances.”
Ali Khan’s work in the development sector of Pakistan includes working as a Documentation Specialist for a USAID funded Gender Equity Program worth USD 38 million – one of the biggest gender equity initiatives in the country. She has also worked for Women on Board, an initiative of the South Asian Federation of Exchanges that aims to address the acute imbalance of women professionals on corporate boards and higher management in Pakistan. She has also worked with AASA Consulting, a firm that specializes in social policy and human resourcemanagement.
She is the author of a number of publications including case studies, success stories, reports, and a magazine. As a women’s rights activist who feels very passionately about gender equality, Ms Ali Khan has had the opportunity to speak about women’s empowerment in Pakistan and internationally.
This week, she analyzes the mistreatment of women in Pakistan, but also why hope still remains.
“The rape, torture, and abduction of a woman doctor in the time of COVID-19, the honor killing of another that’s conveniently been dubbed a suicide, and the harassment of women who speak their mind online – THIS from a nation whose founding father, Mohmmad Ali Jinnah, recognized that the power of the sword and the pen both pale in comparison to the power of women! However, even in these dark times, hope remains! Stories such as that of Tabassum Adnan remind us that the women of Pakistan have traded their bangles for fists. Kudos to Academy Award-winning Director, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, for shining a spotlight on these stories! In violent times, showing a mirror that reflects the misogyny of your culture is a heroic act in itself!”