December 10th, 2022
Ascend Athletics organized a launch event at a local hotel in Islamabad. Begum Samina Arif Alvi was the chief guest at the event and other dignitaries that participated in the launch event included the Minister of Tourism, Raja Nasir Ali Khan; Chief Secretary Gilgit Baltistan, Mohiyuddin Wani; Retd Air Marshal, Sohail Aman and General Irfan Arshad, DG Law. Notable mountaineers such as Naila Kiyani and Nazir Sabir graced the occasion.
Speaking at the event, Begum Samina Arif Alvi states, “Through this initiative, we can prepare the first cohort of Pakistani girls to become qualified instructors in public service, mountaineering skills development, psychosocial well-being and leadership skills development. We believe with the right support, these girls can become effective leaders and role models, and put Pakistan on the world map.”
Earlier this year, Samina Baig and Naila Kiani created history by scaling the world’s second highest peak K-2, which is also known as the world’s most dangerous and savage mountain.
Ascend Athletics Pakistan aims to launch a holistic leadership development program based on sports and civic engagement in Gilgit-Baltistan. This initiative by Ascend is the first of its kind in Pakistan that will empower Pakistani women and girls through high quality, high impact sports based leadership training. Through hands-on experiential learning and classroom instruction, women and girls will acquire specialized skills to become qualified instructors in physical fitness, public service, mountaineering skills development (climbing, safety, judgment), psychosocial well-being and leadership skills development. Simultaneously, participants will gain tools and skills that will serve them throughout their lives.
Ascend’s efforts led to the successful first Afghan female summit of Mt. Noshaq, Afghanistan’s highest peak, in 2018. Marina LeGree, the founder and CEO of Ascend, was recently awarded the Harvard Alumni Public Service award for her outstanding achievements. She believes that with the right support and training, Pakistani girls can scale new heights and climb their inner and outer mountains through a holistic leadership through athletics programme.
The Global Wage Report 2019-20 by International Labor Organization explains the gender pay gap variation between men and women between countries and for Pakistan it is 34 percent. The overarching constraints that restrict economically active women in maximizing their income include cultural constraints of free mobility, restricted access to and acquisition of skills pertaining to business management and expansion, and lack of direct access to markets and technology.