Anita Contractor takes life as it comes and ensures that she is flexible enough to withstand all challenges thrown at her. Her job, which she has been excelling at for three decades, as an Airport Services manager for Emirates is an unorthodox one. Not only is the aviation industry predominantly male, the hours are long and unusual, and the security situation of Karachi only adds to the problems. Initially her family wasn’t comfortable with her working at an airport especially during the night shifts. But with the perseverance she has exhibited throughout her life, Anita convinced her family about how the importance of her career trumps the concerns about safety. “I am a proud mother of three daughters and very happily married,” she exclaims, “but it wasn’t easy to convince my family about my job. It took me time to explain to them that my career was important to me and this is the path I want to take.” Her message to women is that first they must be convinced of their own abilities and only then will they find solutions to squeeze through constraints and juggle the various roles they occupy.
Apart from her main job, Anita contributes to the wellbeing of Karachi by investing a lot of time in social work and by being one of the few ballet instructors for little girls in the city. She recalls the difficulties she had to face in the initial days of her motherhood because there was no trend of women bringing children to work. “Twenty one years ago there was no concept of taking a child to work in a public area. Feeding, and everything else, was a major struggle. Without the immense support of my parents and husband it would not have been possible.” At one point Anita also had to look after her ailing father after her mother passed away. “He was immobile. I wanted to be with him so I used to get to his house immediately after work.”
According to Anita, being an independent woman does not mean ignoring the male influence in her life. One needs to enrich one’s life by embracing an understanding of each other and supporting each other. “Remember that it is God who created both men and women. Without women you are nowhere as a man, and vice versa. Work with your place in the world.”
Anita’s miracle moment came when she got her promotion purely on merit. She recalled how fifteen years ago she was almost selected as the Airport Services Manager but was told that being a woman will be a hindrance in the role. And now, several years later, as she performs and excels at that same role, she is setting the bar and leading the struggle to shatter the glass ceiling that still exists in the aviation industry.