Madiha Sultan Tai, co-founder and CEO of Lals, a Karachi-based patisserie and chocolate brand, had challenged industry standards when they opened in 2006. As a woman entrepreneur in the food and beverage industry, Sultan Tai faced several challenges. However, she believed that strong commitment, self- belief and support from family were the reasons for her success. Besides her business venture, she works for several social causes, particularly in the field of adult education. To encourage girls to work, Sultan Tai has made some concessions for them in her company. For instance, she gives the women employees only day shifts as their safety comes first. This has also resulting in attracting more young girls, she said at a panel discussion organised by TEDx, a global non-profit organisation devoted to ideas worth spreading.
Serenading successful women in the current world of gender inequality, discrimination and insecurity, the event saw a gathering of the most impassioned TEDx enthusiasts from across the world. The speakers, most of them women, kept the audience engaged with their life changing experiences, technological innovations, women power and much more.
Lotus: Journey to Enlightenment was the theme for the event, where the speakers, drawn from all walks of life, shared their experience and how they could achieve their goal despite various challenges.
Another achiever, who spoke passionately about equal chance for women, was Isabella Rose Taylor a fashion designer from Austin, Texas. She was a mere 13-year-old when her talent was recognised and her collection of clothes was displayed at the New York Fashion Week. Taylor, who has been named as an emerging designer, said, "With passion and commitment anything is possible irrespective of age and gender."
The field of entrepreneurs has been for long a "domain of men", which was difficult and challenging to breach. Ameera Shah, MD and CEO, Metropolis Healthcare, shared her experience under the theme Entrepreneurship: A Journey in Self-discovery. Sharing her experience and challenges that she faced in her career path, she recalled how as a child she was protected by her family simply because she was a girl. Though she was married at a young age, it was her passion to seek her real identity that drove her to tackle life's hurdles thrown her way. Many were the risks she took in terms of reputation, marriage, time and money, she informed
Patricia Bader-Johnston is a global advisor to Impact International (UK) Flourish Initiative, who spoke about the support from her family and husband, which helped make her life full of dignity, independence and more empowered. Though there is gender bias in every country, women have to take it as a challenge and move forward with determination, Johnston asserted. Only then could real equality be achieved, she added.
One of the men speakers was Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International. He shared his experience on developing technologies to provide affordable, indigenous and appropriate toilets for public in India, where majority of the people go for open defecation and how manual scavenger live undignified life because they are the one who are asked to clean the pit.
Commenting on the event, Stuti Jalan, TEDx Janpath Curator said, "It is the first edition of TEDx Janpath and we have got an amazing line-up of speakers, who are multifaceted and are interested in sharing their ideas and experience".
As a woman entrepreneur Sultan Tai faced several challenges. However, she believed that strong commitment, self- belief and support from family were the reasons for her success.