Professor wins major award for Asian women

A WOMAN schooled in Tanzania who came to Yorkshire at 18 has won an Asian Women of Achievement Award.

She was presented with her award in the professions category of the awards by the Prime Minister’s wife Cherie Booth.

Tanzanian-born Dr Shahina Pardhan, whose Indian parents moved to Africa before she was born, arrived at Bradford University as a teenager to study for a BSc in optometry.

She passed with first- class honours, gaining an award for best student in the process.

Dr Pardhan, 39, who still has a house in Bradford, is the country’s first Asian female professor of optometry and since 1993 has held various posts at Bradford University, where she took her PhD, including research assistant, research fellow, lecturer, and senior lecturer.

For many years she was the only woman lecturer at Bradford University.

Last year she went to Pakistan with former Bradford University students to help improve the eyesight of local people living in a remote and mountainous area.

Dr Pardhan left the university in March this year to take up a post as professor of optometry at the Anglia Polytechnic University in Cambridge.

She said: “I’m deeply honoured, really delighted. It just shows other Asian women they can go ahead and follow their dreams and break barriers, social and cultural, which hold them back.”

Dr Pardhan, who is not married, is the youngest of eight children. One sister is a GP and another is a pharmacist. One of her brothers is an optometrist at Bradford University.