Pakistan WE-NET Board Member and CEO of De Sabaoon Shirkat, Lubna Farooq has gone up against numerous cultural barriers and gender-related constraints, but has risen above them all. She is the first woman in her family who has stepped out into the business world. Lubna addressed the audience to share her story at WE-NET’s session on “Encouraging Women Entrepreneurship” which was held on 24th January in Karachi, Pakistan.
“In Peshawar, we were brought up in a very strict environment and we were not even allowed to look at boys, let alone talk to them. When I was in the ninth grade, I was engaged to a cousin of mine, and I was very young. I was about 14 or 15 I think, and I was petrified because I was really studious and I went on to become the captain of my house. I couldn’t share the news of my engagement with anyone because it sort of belittled me, you know. I mean how could I be engaged, I wanted to do so much. I then wanted to go to Lahore for my college education, but I wasn’t allowed because Lahore was much more advanced than Peshawar was so I was sent to a college in Peshawar. Thankfully, my engagement broke off after 4 years, so I was saved from that ordeal but then I suffered a very bad back injury in my third year of college, and was bedridden for almost a year. Obviously, being a Pathan girl, and having an engagement broken off which was in those days like having a marriage broken off, I had a stigma attached to me. People thought I was crippled for life because I was on bedrest, so you can well imagine that I was pretty depressed. I had to quit college and then I had to give my BA privately.”
However, despite all the odds, Lubna rose above and is now a consultant in entrepreneurship and enterprise development. She set up the first Events Management Company and later the first mineral water bottling plant in Peshawar.