Dr. Munazza Yaqoob is EX. chairperson of Department of English, female campus, and founder and incharge of the Critical Thinking Forum (CTF), International Islamic University, Islamabad. She is SUSI fellow for Multinational Institute for American Culture and Society, New York University, New York. She is the author of two books and numerous research papers published in national and international journals.She has presented papers on a number of national and international forums and has organised three international conferences and more than hundred seminars, discussion sessions and round tables on various themes such as women empowerment, consciousness raising, indigenous feminism, diversity and social harmony, interfaith and intercultural understanding and environment . She is member of the Faculty Board, Board of Studies and Research committee of the university. Currently she is working as Project Director of two years grant project on " Consciousness Raising of Pakistani Women on Academic and Social Issues" and as member of Steering Committee for three years partnership between International Islamic University Islamabad and University of North Carolina, Wilmington, USA.
"Role of Critical Thinking Forum in Raising Pakistani Women's Critical Consciousness"
Like other South Asian societies the current social scenario of Pakistan is also dominated by critical and serious socio-political and cultural issues such as terrorism, extremism, globalization, gender issues and environmental issues. The mainstream debates and dialogue on these issues are mostly carried out by male politicians and civil society. There is a lack of opportunities for young educated women in Pakistan to voice their concerns on these important issues and occupy an effective place in mainstream politics and socio-cultural activities.
This situation weakens the efforts employed to empower women in Pakistan. Women empowerment can be worked out if women themselves step forward and engage themselves seriously in theory as well as theoretically well-informed activism for collective critical voice and appearance in political and socio-cultural scene of the country. There are many ways to work out and among them which can be very effective is establishment of platforms to promote, facilitate and train women and direct their research and activism towards empowerment of women in their society.
Critical Thinking Forum (CTF) is one such platform which serves to train young women researchers and academicians to utilize their research and knowledge and confidently, participate and raise their well informed voice in mainstream political, socio-cultural academic debates and dialogue. CTF serves as a platform for educated women's collective critical voice which is well-informed of global and local trends and issues. CTF promotes educated women who find opportunity to enter higher education so that they can pave way for the higher education of other women and help them raise their critical consciousness. In this way young educated women through CTF platform are trained and supported to occupy space in prominent voices of civil society and educational policies. Thus the mission of CTF is to empower women through education, research, debates and dialogue.