Naima Ahmed – Tackling Grass Root Issues Head On
Naima Ahmed, the youngest among three siblings and a lawyer by profession with almost six years of experience in the field under her belt. She did her LLM, specializing in law, governance and development from School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.
“Being the only girl child, I was raised no different than my two elder brothers and was provided with every opportunity to pursue my dreams. The want and zest to be independent in every walk of life was and still is the reason which I practically live for.”
Her fascination with the subject started when she took it up as a subject in her A-levels and as they say, rest is history. She divides her time between multiple responsibilities that she has willingly taken up; be it working with a public think tank trying to bring grass root level reforms in the public sector education and health departments, writing for various newspapers, publishing her academic papers in legal journals and teaching LLM courses to lawyers and Punjab civil service officers. At the end of the day, for her it is about adding value to the lives of those she interacts with, either as a teacher or representative of the think tank trying to take in the perspective of the less privileged.
Talking about her accomplishments and setbacks, Naima shared that securing a distinction for her research at SOAS and then qualifying for the job of a lead researcher among qualified PhD candidates are some of her success stories. However, being an empowered independent woman in a male dominant society is what she considers to be her biggest accomplishments. Even though the mindset is changing in this regard, still there is a long way to go for us as a society and the profession of law is no different. This then at times brings hurdles in a female lawyer’s career path at times, turning a situation into professional setbacks as well.
“The difficulties are part of the daily routine. But I have learned to never be afraid to raise your voice to raise awareness of your own rights.”
One of the highlights of Naima’s work is as the lead researcher on the project for civil services reforms for the lower cadre employees. Her focus was on education and health department where eighty percent of the positions in Punjab constitute of the lower cadre and they are vital when it comes to the quality of results produced by these public sector departments. While everyone just complains, no one until now has paid attention to the root cause of the problem and this is what this project has tried to rectify.
“The real impact comes from the grass root levels and given that my work, be it as a practicing lawyer, teacher or writer, revolves around touching the basis of the issues, it all sums up and helps break stereotypes and hopefully will help in laying the foundation of a more tolerant society in the country”.