by staff contributor Camry Haskins
“If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed”. –Mark Twain (quoted by Shehla Ahmad Rathore)
On Tuesday, April 7, faculty members from the Lahore College for Women’s University (LCWU) addressed an audience of around 50 individuals as part of a UNESCO Seminar series. This seminar was part of the GW-LCWU Partnership that has been led by Prof. Shaista E. Khilji and Prof. Barbara Miller in an effort to promote a meaningful exchange between Pakistani women scholars, and faculty and students at the George Washington University. This specific seminar was organized during the faculty members’ three-week visit to Washington, DC and its aim was to focus on breaking the stereotypes associated with Pakistan and the status of women within the country.
PhD scholar, lecturer, and MS program coordinator at LCWU, Shehla Ahmad Rathore opened up the seminar by asking the audience what their current impressions were of Pakistan. The very first comment was shock that there could be a women’s college in Pakistan. Rathore responded by informing the room that LCWU has 14,000 female students enrolled and is only one of several women’s only colleges throughout Pakistan. Another audience member stated that she imagined strict gender roles with women being restricted. There was only one member who spoke to diversity depending on region, class, and culture, which would mean a diverse Pakistan without any one overbearing stereotype.