Pink is the new black according to Zar Aslam, an environmentalist in Lahore, Pakistan. Not only is Zar the President of the non-profit Environment Protection Fund, but she is also now an entrepreneur. She recently started Pink Rickshaw, a transportation service exclusively for female drivers and female passengers. (A rickshaw is a covered three-wheel motorcycle, popularly used for transportation in Pakistan.)
Aslam’s idea for an exclusively female rickshaw service was inspired by her own personal story. At one point in her life, she was almost kidnapped by a male rickshaw driver. Not only that, but Aslam and her co-workers have been harassed and groped by male rickshaw drivers on multiple occasions. Based on the injustices Aslam and her friends suffered, she decided it was time to do something about it.
More To Come
Aslam only has one Pink Rickshaw on the road so far, but it will serve as an important symbol in the nation’s capital. Aslam said, “This is another step toward women’s financial and professional empowerment.” Her goal is to have 25 Pink Rickshaws in operation by the end of the year. Interested women will have the opportunity to obtain a license, learn to drive, and lease a rickshaw.
3 Reasons This Woman Inspires Us
- She chose to become a champion instead of a victim.
We all face defining moments in our lives. Something bad happens that is out of our control, but we have the opportunity to choose how we will respond. We have the option to let the bad thing that has happened to us make us a victim. Or we have the option to take what happened to us and turn it around and use it for good. Zar Aslam decided that instead of simply feeling sorry for herself after what happened to her, she would become a champion for women throughout her city.
- She overcame cultural obstacles.
Though there have been recent efforts to elevate the status of women in Pakistan, it is still a culture where women are looked down upon and mistreated. In fact, regarding the issue of gender equality, the World Economic Forum ranked Pakistan as the second worst nation in the world in 2014. This makes Aslam’s accomplishments all the more impressive. What she is doing is not easy, but she isn’t letting the many obstacles stand in her way. She’s moving forward with her dream, and as a result, it will positively affect countless Pakistani women.
- She was willing to take a risk.
Another reason Aslam inspires us is because she was willing to take a risk to accomplish something great. Most worthwhile things in life come with a certain amount of both sacrifice and risk. Aslam was willing to take the risk of starting her business. Her story reminds us that the dreams and goals we have for our lives may require an amount of risk, but that doesn’t mean they are impossible.
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