Islamabad, April 7, 2021: As
many as 22 women Vice Chancellors, Provosts, Executive Directors and Deans from
Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across Pakistan logged in to participate
in a workshop entitled “Collaboration for Excellence – Women Leadership in the
Higher Education Sector” organized by the National Academy of Higher Education
All participants had one goal
in mind – to work together and find a way to enable women in leadership roles
in universities as well as those on the cusp of leadership positions.
Participants from all four provinces and Islamabad were part of this
groundbreaking conversation chaired by Dr. Shaheen Sardar Ali, Rector NAHE.
Reflecting on personal and
professional experiences, women at the forefront of higher education in
Pakistan talked through challenges confronted in their professional life, how
they overcame them and opportunities that helped them.
Dr. Rukhsana Kausar, Vice
Chancellor, Government College Women University (GCWU) Sialkot touched upon the
unique challenges of women working without support structures and financial
cushions in place. Dr. Farhat Haq, Provost, Lahore University of Management
Sciences (LUMS) spoke about the edge that Pakistani women hold in the shape of
strength and resilience.
Dr. Saima Hamid, Vice
Chancellor, Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) reiterated how women leaders
in higher education have had to fight to be heard and to have their
contributions seen. Dr. Parveen Munshi, Vice Chancellor, University of Sufism
and Modern Sciences spoke of the administrative and financial competencies that
need to be learned on the job, because most institutions lack preparatory
capacity building opportunities.
Dr Tashmin Khamis, Vice
Provost, Aga Khan University (AKU) touched a chord with all participants when
she spoke of the further justifications women have to give when making changes
or suggestions and the constant ‘guilt’ trip women employees find themselves
Themes that became clear
through the course of the discussion and which will form part of the ‘Women
leadership Program’, included women’s perception of self, social structures
that may work for or against women, the need for networking and reiterating
ideas, and the crucial role of good mentorship.
Becoming part of the ‘power
circle’ or ‘decision-makers circle’ within universities can be challenging for
women; information sharing, and decision making can happen in social settings
which may not be accessible to women. In the time ahead, participants hoped to
collaborate and work together to address these challenges, create
opportunities, and provide women at the cusp of leadership with the resources
Going forward, NAHE intends
to draw upon the ideas generated by this incredible group of women leaders to
design and implement excellence and leadership courses across Pakistan, both
centrally and through regional hubs of learning. This virtual engagement is one
of several and on-going workshops NAHE intends to hold with women working in
HEIs to support and widen the pool of women in leadership positions.
NAHE is established as a
stand-alone, autonomous institution operating under the auspices of HEC to
improve the quality of teaching, research, and governance in Higher Education
Institutions (HEIs) across Pakistan. It is envisioned as the premier
institution for quality research and teaching related to all aspects of higher
education in Pakistan. This series of trainings is one of multiple ongoing NAHE
endeavors at HEC.