Women in Leadership
Despite the overall prevailing gender inequality, Pakistan has produced outstanding strong women leaders who consider equality a given and who are fearless to fight for what they deserve. Many of them are seen as global leaders in various sectors of the economy. We at Training Impact believe in honoring the contribution of women in creating ripples of impact.
Ms. Toima Asghar, Chief Human Resource Officer at Systems Limited talks about what leadership means to her in a candid conversation: what factors enabled her to make her way up the corporate ladder and insights into what it takes to be in a leadership role.
TI: What is leadership to you?
Toima: For me a leader is someone to whom the team can look up to. The leader should be possessing a set of inspirational characteristics which enables them to lead and inspire others to follow them. This is regardless of age or gender. He/she should also be able to get things done and push others to go beyond what is expected of them.
TI: What was the biggest challenge you faced in your career?
Toima: Looking back, I think the societal acceptance that women are equally competent individuals has been a huge ordeal. When you are struggling to secure a position for yourself, encouragement from seniors and colleagues goes a long way. Another challenge is to get the unbiased opportunities you deserve, based on your skills and talent rather than gender.
TI: How did you overcome it?
Toima: There have been several factors at play:
- Commitment to your goals always pays off.
- Introspective analysis and self-discipline combined with working smart helps overcome challenges.
- One should not wait for others to come and motivate you; self-motivation is the key – It gives independence and confidence.
- However you definitely need a strong support system as well to sustain and for that one needs to identify positive and happy people among your circle to generate positive energy.
- Also one needs to be fearless to take risks.
TI: Your advice to aspiring women leaders
Toima: Focus on what you are doing and remain determined. There will be distractions and detours, but target on what you want to achieve and then strive to achieve it.
Professional conduct and demeanor is a must. Your gender should not restrict you from going beyond the skies. Stagnancy makes you dead wood; always look for new opportunities to explore and grow.