Publishing house, Zuka Books, has been shortlisted for a UN Women Asia-Pacific WEP Award in the Gender-responsive marketplace category. Launched in partnership with the European Union and assistance from Australia Aid, they are the only regional awards to recognise gender-inclusive initiatives in business. The Lahore-based publishing company that focuses on sustainability and women’s empowerment was nominated along with hundreds of others but has finally made its way into the shortlist.

“I offer my congratulations and joy to the winners. I am truly honoured and delighted to have made it so far. It has always been about the value of one’s work, the pathways it opens for others that keeps me going. The impact and rewards must be shared with society to enjoy. I genuinely hope this encourages more Pakistani organisations to include women extensively,” says Mehr F Husain.

Mehr founded ZUKA in 2020, initially to self-publish her coffee table book, ‘Pakistan: A Fashionable History’, co-authored with photojournalist Saad Sarfraz Sheikh. The book looks at the country’s cultural evolution by examining fashion trends and pop history.

Since then Zuka has published Pakistan’s first poetry book on mental health by Zahra Hameed, which became part of a nationwide campaign to raise mental health awareness in women and a graphic novel, Grey Matter, about the dissolution of a marriage by Sabdezar Irfan. In 2021, Zuka organized the virtual ‘Women In Literature’ festival along with the development platform, Ananke, founded by Sabin Muzaffar.

Mehr believes that publishing in Pakistan cannot make progress until there is freedom of expression and diversity. According to her, a healthy literary industry that nurtures literary talent, especially for women, is necessary for Pakistan’s development.

From : pk.mashable.com

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