Introduction

One of the pioneers of women's movement in Pakistan, Nigar Ahmad is Founder and Executive Director of Aurat Foundation, a civil society organization working for the women's empowerment. Under her stewardship for the

Nigar Ahmad


Professional Achievements


One of the pioneers of women's movement in Pakistan, Nigar Ahmad is Founder and Executive Director of Aurat Foundation, a civil society organization working for the women's empowerment. Under her stewardship for the last three decades, Aurat Foundation has emerged as the leading national women's rights organization in Pakistan.

Nigar has worked tirelessly leading the women's movement for a range of causes, from generating debate across the country about women's political, social and economic empowerment and mobilizing women candidates for national, provincial and local government elections. As researcher, she has extensively investigated the situation of grassroots women in Pakistan. She has also researched tenant landlord struggles in Pakistan and co-authored a study on the life of rural women in Punjab.

An academic and a social activist, Nigar was a brilliant student. She gained her Masters in Economics from the Punjab University and went on to study economics at Cambridge University after winning a Commonwealth Scholar. While pursuing a career in academia she taught economics for 16 years at the faculty of the Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad and was drawn into the struggle of Pakistani women against the anti-women policies of the military dictatorship headed by Zia-ul-Haq.

She was a member of the Women’s Action Forum for two years (1983–1985) before founding Aurat Foundation together with Shahla Zia. Nigar has researched the work of women in the informal sector, and organized national conferences for peasant women, as well as radio programmes to educate them on health and agricultural issues. She campaigned for the need to generate correct information on women’s work during the fifth National Census in 1998.

Nigar Ahmad has contributed to shaping policy debates on women’s empowerment through her close involvement with bodies such as the National Commission on the Status of Women. She was a co-author of the report on Women’s Development Programmes for Pakistan’s Eighth Five Year Plan, and played a similar role with respect to the Sixth Five Year Plan.

She was one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She is a nominee from Pakistan of the Global Sisterhood Network. As researcher, Nigar has extensively investigated the situation of grassroots women in Pakistan. She has also researched tenant-landlord struggles in Pakistan and co-authored a study on the life of rural women in Punjab.