Law School At Kinnaird To Train Women For Leadership Roles
There is no greater tool to empower women than education. As the month of March heralds hope for women’s causes every year, projects aimed at equipping women with quality education to help them evolve into leaders and change-makers, mark the culmination of that very hope.
The old students’ body of Kinnaird College for Women University in Lahore, OAKS, is all set to further the cause of equality and empowerment for women by resolving to bring new academic disciplines, notably the first women’s law school in the country, to one of South Asia’s most prestigious women’s universities. By providing opportunities for more women to enter the noble profession and lend excellence to the way ‘law’ is learnt and practiced, the project is being widely welcomed, more so, by iconic past pupils like Justice( Retd) Nasira Iqbal and many other luminaries.
To help generate funds for the ambitious project that will house a state-of- the-art digital library, a law school, a full-fledged food and nutrition department, fully-equipped research labs for the sciences, multiple multi-media lecture rooms and admin offices, the Old Associates of Kinnaird Society launched a virtual marathon fundraiser this International Women’s Day.
Keeping up with its tradition of producing women protagonists and leaders in all fields, especially in areas formerly untraversed by women, the college now solicits the past graduates to help in the making of more success stories through their support and contributions. The academic project is meant to ensure more women access the finest degree courses in various disciplines and make their way to slots of power and influence in the times to come.
Aligning the fundraising campaign with this year’s global theme for IWD, ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World’, members of OAKS maintain that in order to encounter the challenges faced by women striving for equality and empowerment in a Covid-19 battered world, they need to access leadership roles through premium and diversified higher learning. Education alone can guarantee women the type of breakthrough, since the need of the hour is to broaden minds and have more women in authoritative roles in legislative planning, law-enforcement and other areas.
“Before vying to champion women’s rights through legislature, it is more important to help revive faith in the profession of law, that seems to have been, somewhat, compromised, of late, due to the irresponsible and egotistical behavior of some members of the legal fraternity who have been resorting to vandalism to voice their demands and anger. We need to induce sobriety, sanity and more women into the field of law and Kinnaird has the capacity to lend prestige and bring out the best in any profession”, opines a past pupil who is a lawyer.
As an academic institution with missionary roots, Kinnaird has always taken pride in inculcating a spirit of charity and generosity in its students at an early age through charity weeks, a regular annual feature at the college since its inception. It now seeks donations from the same alumnae for the sake of promoting excellence in women’s higher education.
In the first phase of fundraising, OAKS chapters from around the world are joining hands to contribute towards the colossal amount of Rs 600 million, all of which will go towards building the new academic complex. Means that have been adopted to raise funds in the first phase include cash donations, sale of college souvenirs, raffle draws, besides auction of paintings, carpets and designer women’s wear.
“Virtual fundraising is not easy with everyone stuck at home these days due to Covid-19, and I would appeal to old students all around the world to help us build a better future for the women of tomorrow, who may benefit from Kinnaird the same way that you did,” observes Samar Gardezi, president, OAKS Pakistan. “Women are at the forefront of diverse and inclusive movements online and on the streets for social justice and equality the world over, and yet, we have fewer women legislators, parliamentarians and policy makers worldwide who can really bring change.” The post pandemic scenario might even be more skewed unless practical plans are undertaken to invest in women’s growth and education. Resorting to the intensive use of social media, the organizers send calls for donations and shout outs inviting bids in the form of videos and picture messages, some of them featuring appeals from prominent old students and celebrities, as the current situation renders live auctions and interaction impossible.
The planned six-storey academic complex will also house a digital library that will network internationally, connect with HEC digital library, besides linking with many other prestigious university libraries from across the world. Students will be able to access remotely, library services and books from other universities, while also having reach to e-books and e-databases. The library will house books belonging to all genres, besides journals and research publications covering various disciplines. Access to international scholarly literature and peer-reviewed journals and articles, will also allow students and researchers to attain text and reference books electronically.
Founded in 1913 Kinnaird was the only women’s liberal arts college in Punjab for almost a decade. During its initial years, many graduating students were employed by top missionary schools, teaching being one of the few professional options available to women at the time. The popularity of missionary schools together with families laying emphasis on English language teaching led to a demand for the type of graduates the college produced. The college was nationalized in 1972, while in 2002, it was given a charter of degree awarding institution and a board of governors was set up to run its administration.
Having produced the likes of Asma Jahangir, Bano Qudsia, Bapsi Sidhwa, Madeeha Gauhar, Ayesha Siddiqa, Muneeza Hashmi, Sabeen Mahmud, Jugnu Mohsin, Rubina Saigol and Tahira Syed, to name a few of its exemplary alumnae, Kinnaird has always set high standards for others to follow. Conceivably, the new academic block will become a hallmark of quality education that will help take women’s causes from the streets to seats of authority.
Donations for the fundraiser can be sent to: Summit Bank
Account Title: Old Associates of Kinnaird College
Acc No: 01032820610714113139
Swift Code: SUMBPKKA
Branch Code: 010328
Faryal Shahzad is an entrepreneur and a freelance journalist based in Lahore.