Maliha Anwer Khan
“You get kicked around by circumstance but you must tell yourself I am still invincible,” says Maliha Anwer Khan, the head of Wealth Management and Non-Resident Banking at UBL. She believes that one makes a choice when presented with a difficult situation – either you allow circumstances/people to make you give up or you gather yourself, stand up again and face the world. Maliha has always chosen to face difficult situations with strength and confidence, no matter what.
Maliha has faced her share of challenges but feels that they are in no way comparable to the ones faced by the working women who belong to smaller towns. “Managing home along with work is difficult,” she admits. “I have to be there for my meetings and make sure there is running water in the taps at home.” Her job requires her to travel across Pakistan and has observed young women at work in various different cities and has makes her feel grateful about her own life. “They are the ones who face the real challenges, winning bread for their families, using public transport and dealing with men while sitting at the tele-counter. So, kudos to them. When I see them, I say to myself what am I complaining about?”
On the issue of gender equality in Pakistan, Maliha says that it is very much absent and women have to deal with the consequences of that on an everyday basis. “That term is misused. There’s no such thing as gender equality. We (women) are far superior. We reproduce, we have multiple emotions, we have the IQ, we are just better models. As far as the system is concerned, I’ve seen that women have to be smarter, harder working and need to prove themselves over and over again to get near the glass ceiling, let alone shatter it. There is inequality and we are measured against a higher bar,” She explains.
While Maliha does not want to be emotionally independent and feels she is dependent on other people for her happiness just as they are on her, financial independence for her is imperative. She believes working contributes immensely to a woman’s self esteem and confidence. Women are undermined and marginalised sometimes and by being working women, they can win themselves respect. She comments on domestic violence and says that it is a harsh reality but such a stigma is attached to it that many victims do not talk about it or ask for help. This must first be accepted and then steps be taken to address it. Even if a woman were to tell a friend that she is being victimised, the friend will not be able to offer much help other than feeling sorry for her or just giving her a shoulder to cry on. “Women in our country don’t know what to do next, how to get help, and that to me is a huge problem.”
Maliha believes that looking and feeling young is a matter of attitude. “I was nervous about ageing at first but then realised it kind of looks cool. These are the stripes I’ve gotten in the battlefield of life and I’ve emerged victorious. The key is to be comfortable in your skin.” she says with a smile. She does however indulge in regular facials and applies the Ponds Age Miracle cream as a routine. She also resorts to walking, swimming and practicing yoga to stay healthy.
For Maliha Anwer Khan, “There is a series of wonderful beautiful miraculous moments in one’s life; graduation, first job, the first car you drive, all these achievements give you immense happiness and it is all these moments when joined together make life beautiful.” Maliha, without a doubt is an example of someone who dreams big and knows how to reach out for her goals with dedication, strength and sheer passion. Her persistent will to just go out there and fulfil her aspirations is sure to inspire many other dreamers to carve out their own path and reach for the sky.