Indian women inspire Pak women: Shad Begum

Washington: Indian woman are "bold" and "courageous" and have created better opportunities for themselves in politics as well as financial field, inspiring their counterparts across the border.

"Women in my country seek inspiration from them" said the Pakistani award winning rights advocate Shad Begum, in a rare compliment coming from across the frontier.

Hailing that Indian woman for creating better opportunities for themselves and coming good in economic activities, Shad said after receiving the 2012 International Woman of Courage award from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the presence of the First Lady Michelle Obama.

The accolades for the Indian women also came from eminent Myanmarese political activist Zin Mar Aung with both of them stressing that more woman should be on the forefront of politics in South Asia. "Women in India are very courageous. They are very bold and they are very well," Shad, who has a number of friends in India, told PTI in an interview after the award ceremony.

In fact, Shad who runs a non-governmental organisation in Khyber Pakhtoonwah province of Pakistan, said she dedicates her award to the women of South Asia.

Maryam Durani from Afghanistan and Aneesa Ahmed from Maldives are the other two South Asian women to have received the award from Clinton along 10 women selected all over the world.

Women in India, she said, have better opportunities that Pakistan, while in her country, Shad said: "women are still struggling for that. We even had a women Prime Minister, but this does not mean that we have all the basic rights including the right to say, right to choose and right to associate. Indian women inspire me because there is already made these possible."

"They are doing good. They are good in education. They are doing good in economic activities and women in India are empowered there. We in Pakistan are still struggling for basic things," Shad said. The award, she said means a lot for her and this would inspire and motivate her to continue with her work.

The Government of Pakistan, she said, should invest in education and economic empowerment of women in the country, she said. "They should also have a policy to bring more women in politics. Because, without being part of the decision making process, we can`t progress," she argued.

Eminent Burmese political activist Zin Mar Aung, also said that women in India are an inspiration for her and her countrywomen. What is more inspiration for her to see such a large number of women in powerful political positions in India, she told PTI.

"We women are human and so we much choose what we want to become or what we want to have in our lives," Zin said speaking on behalf of the 10 women leaders who received the prestigious women award in Washington on Thursday.

Congratulating the 10 winners of the award, the First Lady, Michelle said they are all here today because somewhere along the line, they decided they could no longer accept the world as it is. "And they committed themselves to fighting for the world as they know it should be. They saw corruption, and they worked to expose it. They saw oppression, and they worked to end it. They saw violence, poverty, discrimination, and inequality — and they decided to use their voices, and risk their lives, to do something about it," Michelle said.

"And day after day, these women have stood up and said the things that no one else could say, or would say. Year after year, they endured hardships that few of us could bear," the First Lady said.

Clinton said these women awardees are working tirelessly for justice. "They are working for accountability. They are working for freedom, and they are working tirelessly to improve the lives of women and girls," she said.