“Women, across the world, should be empowered to reach the peaks in all walks of life”
SaminaBaigis the first Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest and the first Muslim to climb seven highest summits of the seven continents of the world, which is considered to be Mountaineers’ Grand Slam
“Samina represents the true face of ambitious global women, who are eager to come out of their shells and contribute their optimum best to create a better world”, said Faisal NiazTirmizi, Consul General of Pakistan in Chicago.
“After Malala Yousufzai, Samina has emerged as another authentic role model not only for women in Pakistan but also for those from across the world”, he added.
SamanMuneeb, Vice Consul, while echoing the same sentiment, said that no career stream is either good or bad; if one is prepared to pay the exacting price by burning the midnight oil in his chosen field, success, fame, and other beneficial outcomes are bound to follow.
Samina was born in a remote village, Shimshal, in the Hunza valley in Northern Pakistan. On account of the prevailing social norms, her parents expected Samina to pursue the minimum required education and settle down in life, as any other girl in a rural area.
However, the destiny had something else in store for her. Her interactions with foreign mountaineers inspired her to explore mountaineering as a career choice.
“Even though convincing parents about my decision to take up mountaineering was as difficult as climbing Everest, my continued persistence turned their stiff resistance into active support”, said Samina.
According to Samina, all occupations bring people face-to-face with a number of learning opportunities; however, many of them neither take note of them nor care to learn. She, therefore, kept her eyes and ears wide-open to learn from her own experiences and those of her colleagues.
“My exposure to mountaineering has taught me that believing strongly in one’s core competencies, committing oneself to the established goals, trusting in team members, proceeding towards the goals at a moderate pace, attending to the minutest details, cultivating mental toughness in the face of adversity, and having abundance of patience and perseverance are the preconditions for success”, said Samina.
“Even though I picked up these principles during the course of my career as a mountaineer, they are universal in nature and hold good for achieving success in all walks of life”, she added.
Mountaineering Deserves Encouragement
The Northern Pakistan is home to some of the world’s most impressive mountains and glaciers and challenging climbs. However, there is continuous decline in foreign expeditions coming to Pakistan, resulting in dwindling employment opportunities for the locals and inflow of valued foreign exchange.
“The Government may, therefore, consider relaxing the rigid visa regime in order to enable the region to emerge as a preferred destination for mountaineering”, Samina appealed.
“The local youth, who do not go to schools, should be exposed to state-of-the-art training in order to make them employable and to promote mountain adventure as a sport”, Samina urged.
Gender Equality and Women Empowerment
Samina said that when she climbed Everest, her mind turned to the millions of women, across the globe in general and in Asian and African countries in particular, who are denied multifarious opportunities because of their gender.
For Samina, mountain climbing is not a fun sport. She does it for a noble cause of conveying a strong message that when she can achieve her highly challenging goals, despite her humble background, women from poor countries too can do similarly in different fields and make their families and the nations proud”, she added.
“It is a matter of gratification that the Government, across the world, and non-state actors, including international organizations, have started working together in achieving gender equality and empowering women”, observed Samina.
“While all religions provide for women empowerment, the age-old traditions of a subservient role of women made them the most vulnerable segment of world population”,Samina opined.
A Special Gratitude to Her Brother
The credit for Samina’s spectacular achievements goes to her brother, Mirza Ali, who is also an accomplished international mountaineer himself, with multiple achievements to his credit.
“Even though he was approximately 248 meters short from the summit of Everest, he let me go to it, on my own without his support, in order to justify my message that women can achieve their goals singlehandedly”, said Samina.
Sabarka Phal Meetha
Samina said that since her endeavors in the domains of mountaineering and women empowerment still represent an unfinished agenda, marriage is not even on her drawing board.
And, as a result, the prospective Mr. Right for this beautiful young lady has to undergo a long and agonizing wait.
But it is worth-doing so, as the adage goes: “Sabarka Phal MeethaHota Hai” (The fruit of patience is sweet)