Women Academics Unite to Explore Alternative Perspectives: A Collaborative Endeavor at Fatima Jinnah Women University

Fatima Jinnah Women University, in collaboration with the International Islamic University, Islamabad, recently organized a thought-provoking three-day round-table talk series titled "Looking Up and Beyond: Alternative Perspectives from Women Academics." The event, held from May 30th to June 1st, under the supervision of vice chancellor FJWU, Prof. Dr. Saima Hamid and Dr. Ishrat Sidiqa Lodhi as the resource person of the project. The talk aimed to address the challenges and opportunities encountered by women academic leaders. These discussions were part of an ongoing series of activities, including workshops and seminars, as an integral component of the LCF Project, awarded by the Higher Education Commission.

The round-table talks were divided into three distinct sessions. The first session focused on early-career women academics from various universities, while the second session involved mid-career women academics. On the final day, a mixed group comprising both male and female academics gathered to contribute their valuable insights. Participants represented nine different universities from Rawalpindi and Islamabad, creating a diverse and enriching discourse.

Throughout the discussions, participants openly shared the challenges they face as women academic leaders. One prevailing notion that emerged was the under-representation of women in leadership positions, highlighting the heightened responsibility they bear in paving the way for their female colleagues. It was observed that some women academics, upon assuming leadership roles, unintentionally become entrenched in the patriarchal system, inadvertently perpetuating barriers to the advancement of other women academics. Concerns were raised about the failure of women academics in leadership positions to advocate for women's issues within academia, emphasizing the need for greater empathy and understanding.

Significantly, when asked about their own vision and expectations for women academics in leadership, early-career women academics presented a clear conception of effective leadership. They expressed a strong desire to use their voices and influence to make a lasting impact while actively mentoring their peers. The round-table discussions concluded on a reflective note, underscoring the importance of continued interactive sessions for women academics to share their experiences, address challenges, and collaboratively seek solutions.

Fatima Jinnah Women University remains steadfast in creating a supportive environment for women academics and fostering their growth as leaders. Such engaging forums not only facilitate meaningful dialogue but also empower women to shape a more inclusive and equitable academic landscape.