Interview with Ms. Tara Uzra Dawood – President, Dawood Global Foundation
Ms. Tara Uzra Dawood is President of Dawood Global Foundation and Chief Executive Officer of 786 Investments Ltd. Her passion is bringing financial empowerment to women through financial inclusion, entrepreneurship training and recognizing top talent. Her project ‘Educate a Girl’ is a global edtech (educational technology) disruptor, which is striving to educate, empower and wire one million girls globally in partnership with Facebook’s Internet.org. She has also served on the Board of Lahore Electric Supply Company Ltd.
PAGE: What are your views on women empowerment in Pakistan?
TARA UZRA DAWOOD: It is much-needed and great strides are being made, as evidence by the incredible Pakistani women who have won LADIESFUND awards over the past decade.
PAGE: How could Pakistan increase the literacy rate among the female population which is almost 50% of the total population of 208 million?
TARA UZRA DAWOOD: Education. Our nation has to invest in educating its youth and particularly its girls. Zakat and government funds have to be channeled to the education of deserving girls and technology has to be leveraged to not only educate them, but motivate and excite them to build careers. Emphasis should also be on training girls in coding, AI and robotics. Hence, we are building the Educate a Girl coding academy.
PAGE: What should the corporate sector of Pakistan do in terms of women empowerment?
TARA UZRA DAWOOD: Invest in women at all stages. Put their CSR (corporate social responsibility) funds into projects like our Educate a Girl, have their women attend our networking lunches like LADIESFUND quarterly power lunches and annual speed networking, and have women start corporate lean in circles which we are happy to facilitate through our award-winning Lean in Pakistan. At work, day cares should be created, maternity leave granted without women losing their career track, and women should be placed on corporate’s on boards as well as trained through PICG for other boards, particularly listed companies. LADIESFUND has nominated over 300 qualified women for boards, and are happy to add names and resumes given to us by corporates wanting to support and promote their women.
PAGE: Could you share your experience of the leading females of Pakistan and their achievements?
TARA UZRA DAWOOD: Our LADIESFUND awards are not just for any one woman but is a true celebration of all Pakistani women. I see winners like 2016 Yasmin Lari, 2011 Zeenat S Ahmed, 2015 Ameena Saiyid, 2010 Nilofer Saeed, 2008 Naheed Mashooqullah, 2016 Simi Kamal, 2014 Angie Marshall from the past decade and past chief guests senator Khushbakht Shujaat and Nasreen Jalil, representing the legacy of these awards. Sameena Karim, mother of our late 2012 winner Arfa Karim, child prodigy, has flown all the way from Lahore to be here as has our 2018 lifetime achievement winner Nasreen Kasuri. These women are talented, hard-working and true inspirations.
PAGE: Do you think the progress of Pakistan is subject to the empowerment of the females in Pakistan?
TARA UZRA DAWOOD: “No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men.” – Muhammad Ali Jinnah