Asia, India, China, Russia

‘Orders from a lady’: A most unusual Pakistani potato farm run by a woman

On a village farm in northern Pakistan, it’s not just the workers but the manager who is a woman. Thirty-year-old Sahar Iqbal and her husband inherited the land, and she now manages 100 full-time female workers.

This farm, 180 km north of Lahore, employs 180 people. The numbers triple during harvest time. Thirty year old Sahar Iqbal is in charge.

“The idea of being an agriculturist hit by an accident. I got married into a rural system, and there wasn’t much activity around. I was confined into the four walls of my house, and I could not go out.

But I got a very educated husband who actually made me believe that I can do whatever I can, even within those four walls – with the power of education. And it was one day we decided to turn our barren land which we inherited from our parents into productive land,” Sahar says.

Men are usually the bosses in this very conservative country. Says Sahar: “I remember it was very difficult to make them understand in the beginning to start taking orders from a lady. In the beginning, they were used to giving orders to the women out there, but they were not used to taking orders from a lady. So yeah, that was the difficult part. But later on, everything is running smoothly now…”

The workers are paid 350 Rupees ($2,50) a day. Laborer Shakooran Mai says the money changed her life. She’s wapped out a mud hut for a brick house with a private toilet. “We have lived out lives,” she says. “Now we are striving for the next generation.”

Source: Radio Free Europe