Rizwana Shah

Rizwana Shah is from one of the most conservative areas of Pakistan. Her parents got her married once she completed the 12th grade, and she was quickly forced to find a job to support the family income.

Rizwana set up a sewing business with a micro-credit loan and was able to expand her business activities. Her improved economic circumstances motivated to Rizwana to help other poor, traditionally home-bound women in her region.

“Women in our society are seen as a source of burden instead of peace,” Rizwana argues. “Men assume the most power-ful positions in their households and are the sole decision-makers. with their skewed financial power, men believe they have a right to abuse women.”

In the wake of this reflection, Rizwana advocates for peace as a source of inclusion: “We need a form of peace that necessitates equality between all gen- ders, castes, age groups, religious groups and political groups, and the threshold to accept inherent differences. For such a peace to exist, Pakistan —and the whole world— would have to go through a cultural revolution and transformation.”