A few weeks ago, I received a CV from an aspiring journalist. The gentleman from a south Punjab district had mentioned everything on his CV, which was least concerned with newsroom working: religion, marital status, domicile, siblings, and interests.
What caught my attention were that gentleman’s interests, and the long list had one unique feature: mountaineering.
I went through the educational credentials of the candidate and found his educational institution had not even the remotest link to hilly areas.
During the informal interview, I asked him about his experience of mountain hiking.
“Well, though I haven’t done much of it, but I do have lots of interest in mountaineering,” he said, explaining his interest.
His arguments had weight and logic. I didn’t go much into detail about how he developed interest in mountaineering, and moved on to newsroom-related jargons.
The incident struck my mind today when I read the news about Samina Baig’s journey from the basecamp to the summit point of K2.
Pakistani women have been making history in the recent past. Even though the country does not have a healthy environment for women to grow and conquer in, yet they break all glass ceilings and make the country proud.
Well done, Samina Baig for breaking all barriers to become the first Pakistani woman to conquer the second highest peak in the world, K-2. She summited Mount Everest in 2013 and has been unstoppable since. Shortly after Baig’s success Naila Kiani also conquered the same peak. Both of these women and countless others have made the nation proud.
Netizens poured in their support for the accomplished mountaineers and many celebrities also celebrated this win for the country. Pakistanis are a talented lot, be it men or women. It is true that men get more opportunities to display their talent and face much less backlash for their decisions. However, Pakistani women are resilient and strong, they can summit any peak (quite literally) if they want to. Samina Baig and Naila Kiani are two faces that will forever be remembered for their achievements.
South Asian culture keeps the role of a woman confined to the four walls of her home. Many women who are talented and driven are forced to stay at home to cook and clean after their husbands and children. However, now the trend is changing slightly. Women take initiative to get out of the four walls and create an identity for themselves other than being a housewife (although there is nothing wrong with being a housewife if that is what a woman wants to be). Many times they have to fight their way into the world and prepare for more battles as they climb the ladder. On the other hand, some are lucky to have a support system that takes care of their liabilities while they live their dreams. In both cases, it is an uphill battle but with support it is easier to win.
Both Samina Baig and Naila Kiani are an inspiration for Pakistani women. Baig belongs to Gilgit-Baltistan and is a trained mountain climber. She started climbing at the age of four and started her training when she turned 15. Her brother played a huge role in her training and she conquered Mt. Everest at the tender age of 21. Kiani is a mother of two, a banker, boxer and a mountaineer. She climbed the Gasherbrum-II, the world’s thirteenth highest mountain and has now become only the second woman to climb K-2 which is widely known as the killer mountain due to the strenuous trek.
Both Baig and Kiani are a great inspiration for all the women in Pakistan who are afraid of taking a leap of faith and living the lives they truly want to live.