Women’s Day: Celebrating the iron ladies of our entertainment industry

Women's Day entertainment industry

Celebrating the achievements of women around the globe, International Women’s Day occurs on the 8th of March every year. Like the world over, the Pakistani women are also making a name for themselves, playing their fair share of role in the country’s progress, and making the land proud with their work in all walks of life.

Here is a list of some of these iron ladies from the Pakistani entertainment industry whom we are immensely proud of.

Mahira Khan

Mahira Khan started her career as a VJ in 2006. In 2011, she made her film debut in Shoaib Mansoor’s Bol while subsequently marking her television debut in Neeyat. Her claim to fame, however, came with her role as Khirad in Sarmad Khoosat’s Humsafar.

From here, it was no looking back for the actress as she appeared in multiple dramas and films, also earning herself an entry into Bollywood alongside Shahrukh Khan during the on-going journey. Considered as Pakistan’s most popular and highest-paid actresses, Mahira made her Cannes debut at the 71st Cannes International Film Festival as the Hair Spokesperson for L’Oreal Paris Pakistan.

Saba Qamar

Saba marked her acting debut 15 years ago in PTV’s home production, Mein Aurat Hoon. Having worked in many dramas and films from then onwards, she was honoured with the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan in 2012 and Pride of Performance in 2016.

Saba later went on to mark her Bollywood debut alongside Irrfan Khan in Hindi Medium for which she garnered a lot of accolades.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy

Filmmaker, Sharmeen Obaid touts herself as someone who makes films which are not run of the mill. Her powerful short films highlight some of the issues that are deep-rooted in Pakistani society, including refugee issues, acid attacks, and honour killings.

In 2012, she won an Academy Award for her documentary, Saving Face. In 2015, she won yet another Academy Award for her short film, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness. Sharmeen is also the director of the successful animated film franchise for children, 3 Bahadur, something which is, once again, a pioneering work in its own right.

Abida Parveen

Introduced to music at an early age by her father, Ghulam Haider, the prominent Sufi musician, Abida Parveen believes Sufism is not only music but a way of life. She is counted in the same league as that of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Mehdi Hassan.

Her love for her craft has earned her global recognition and is widely known as the Queen of Sufi music.

Sultana Siddiqui

It was in the year 1974 that Sultana Siddiqui started her career as a producer in PTV. Her first Urdu programme Rung Barung won her Best Production Award. Sultana Siddiqui is credited for introducing a lot of new talent in the industry including Mahnoor Baloch who starred in her first drama Marvi.

Abida Parveen also credits her immense popularity to Sultana Siddiqui, as the latter bought her to the TV screens. In 2004, Sultana founded Eye Television Network which is now known as Hum Network Limited.

Director and President of Hum Network, Sultana Siddiqui became the first woman in South Asia to establish a television station. She has numerous dramas to her credit as a director including Marvi, Thori Si Mohabbat, Qismat Ke Sitaray and Zindagi Gulzar Hai to name a few. In 2008, she was awarded the prestigious Pride of Performance Award in recognition of her outstanding services in the field of Arts.

Momina Duraid

Pakistani director and producer, Momina is the creative head of television network Hum TV and CEO of her own production company, Momina Duraid Productions.

Her notable works include Humsafar, Zindagi Gulzar Hai, Udaari, Yakeen Ka Safar among other dramas and Bin Roye and Parwaz Hai Junoon in films. In 2015, Momina was named among the Pond’s list of Miracle Journey: The 100 Most Inspirational Women.

Maheen Khan

The Pakistani fashion and costume designer, Maheen Khan is well known for her embroidery for the film Snow White and the Huntsman, Cinderella and the TV series, The Jewel in the Crown.

In 2014, she was awarded the Silver Shield from the Government of Pakistan for her contribution to the fashion industry. Dubbed as ‘Coco Chanel of the East,’ she has also designed dresses for various notable personalities such as The Bhuttos, Jemima Khan, and various others.


A pioneer in her field, Nabila is a successful make-up artist and hair stylist who has been in the beauty industry for over 30 years. Making a name for herself globally by working for fashion shoots, movies, and celebrities, Nabila became the official makeup and hairstylist for IIFA Awards 2018.

Laraib Atta

Small town girl doing big wonders, Laraib Atta hails from Esakhel in Mianwali and is the daughter veteran singer Ataullah Esakhelvi. Pakistan’s first and youngest female visual effects artist in Hollywood, Laraib rose to fame at the tender age of 19.

She has worked for a number of Hollywood films including 10,000 BC, The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince of Persia, Godzilla, X-Men: Days of Future Past and most recently Mission: Impossible – Fallout. She also worked for BBC, Glassworks Barcelona, and MPC.

Madam Noor Jehan

The Queen of Melody, Madam Noor Jehan, was a Pakistani playback singer and actress who first worked in British India and then in Pakistan. With a career that spanned more than six decades, she was known as one of the most influential singers of all time which earned her the honorary title of Malika-e-Tarannum.

She is credited for lending the largest number of film songs in the history of Pakistani cinema. Her notable mentions and awards include being known as Bulbul-e-Hind (Nightingale Of India), the award for the Singer Of Millennium, Pride of Performance, Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, and Sitara-e-Imtiaz.

We honour all these women and their services for the country today. We simply celebrate their existence and also celebrate the fact that they are or have been the ones promoting Pakistan world over.

We also realise that it is not a complete list by any means as many more names could have been added, and much more could have been said about the ones that are already here. Still, we present this as a symbolic gesture for our respect to all the women serving the country not only in the entertainment industry but in all walks of life. More power to you ladies!

I'm a graduate of Beaconhouse National University with a huge interest in fashion and makeup. I also love to write about anything and everything which is related to style. Love to travel and explore new places!