Samina Baig—A woman who reached the impossible!
Photo Credit To Mirza Ali

Samina Baig—A woman who reached the impossible!

Pakistan is a country where there is strong heritage of strong women. Whether it is education, inheritance rights or their democratic right to vote, Pakistani women struggled to the top. This struggle has led Pakistani women to unprecedented positions: Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Speaker of the National Assembly, from business leaders to airline pilots. In this tradition, Samina Baig has taken her quest further in fact to the roof of the world.


Her philosophy and motivations to act

Samina is a pioneer in climbing mountains all over the world with the purpose of empowering women. She stands tall not just in Pakistan but across the Muslim world. Out of 1.6 billion (both girls and boys) she has climbed all Seven peaks on Seven Continents, which is no small feat. Through her actions she has shown that Pakistani women have equal opportunities to excel in the fields of their choice. They can achieve anything they want by their hard work and only by believing in their success. So, when she was lifting the flag of Pakistan on the top of Mount Everest, she felt that she had achieved the impossible. At that very moment, she was an example of women’s empowerment. “I achieved gender equality, and I represented Pakistani women and showed their courage and strength.” This made Samina a role model for women around the world: “it is my intention to give a message of confidence to females everywhere that if a young woman like me can climb mountains, she can do anything. I want to tell women in Pakistan that if I am from Pakistan and I can climb mountains, they can climb their own mountains, because everyone has their own mountains in their lives. They can work hard, they can overcome their challenges and they can reach their goals.”

“I achieved gender equality, and I represented Pakistani women and showed their courage and strength.”

Ascending her dreams, fulfilling her ambitions

“On Mt. Everest, I was not Samina Baig, I was representing Pakistani women. I was thinking that if I don’t make it, how am I going to encourage other women? I had to do it. I have to reach the top. I was very clear about that.”

“On Mt. Everest, I was not Samina Baig, I was representing Pakistani women. I was thinking that if I don’t make it, how am I going to encourage other women? I had to do it. I have to reach the top. I was very clear about that.”

On May 19, 2013, at 7:40 a.m., Samina Baig stood on top of the world, Mount Everest. She achieved that along with less than 400 women from around the globe, of various ages, nationalities and socio-economic background.

She grew up in a one-room house with no electricity, indoor plumbing or telephone. Her family used firewood for cooking and heating. Despite the modest beginning, Samina’s parents, a farmer and a homemaker, ensured the education of their four children. Samina’s family has been supportive of her achievements as a climber and this has greatly facilitated her achievements so far. Therefore, Samina hopes that other families in Pakistan will change their views of what women are capable of. “They should let their daughters achieve their dreams, whether it is mountain climbing or any other sport. They should motivate them and become their support system.”

Samina climbed Mt. Everest with the goal of drawing attention to the need of gender equality in Pakistan, and other developing nations. / Credits: Mirza Ali.
Samina climbed Mt. Everest with the goal of drawing attention to the need of gender equality in Pakistan, and other developing nations. / Credits: Mirza Ali.
“They should let their daughters achieve their dreams, whether it is mountain climbing or any other sport. They should motivate them and become their support system.”

She hopes that the families will understand that the contribution of women is important and can be more powerful for building a greater country.

Mountain climbing is rooted in the history, geography and culture of people living in Hunza and Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan but many cannot afford this expensive and demanding sport. Pakistan offers many mountaineering opportunities however there is a lack of organized climbing support on a national level to promote secure climbing. This is the environment, in which Samina grew up—surrounded by mountains and feeling respect to them but with no professional preparation to climb them.

In the need of helping other women

Samina climbs and works with her brother, Mirza Ali Baig, who supports her activities and her philosophy. They together set up an organization called Pakistan Youth Outreach. One of their projects was to make a documentary on 10 female high school students who conquered the summit of a 8,400-metre peak. This was the first ever expedition of any young women to ascent the mountain, which was at the end a success story showing the young women’s strength and determination.The mountain was renamed to Samina Peak in her honor after the excursion.

Samina Baig and Mirza Ali were honoured by Jamati and AKDN leaders at a reception held upon their return to Pakistan. / Credits: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for Pakistan.
Samina Baig and Mirza Ali were honoured by Jamati and AKDN leaders at a reception held upon their return to Pakistan. / Credits: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for Pakistan.

Pakistan Youth Outreach has also undertaken a long-term program with a goal to educate youth at grassroots level about mountain adventure, trekking adventure, and wilderness, which includes education about environment and the effects of global warming. The target groups are students of schools, colleges and universities to promote gender equality and women empowerment. This stands in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals for women and youth to promote gender equality and education on its agenda. Along with climbing, Samina wants to continue her studies of women’s rights to assist women from all over the world in their struggles.


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