When we think of Shayari or Urdu literature, names such as Mirza Ghalib, Mir Taqi Mir, or, in more recent times, Javed Akhtar and Gulzar come to mind. Unfortunately, not many are familiar with their women counterparts. Here, we attempt to familiarise you with a few gems that had a significant impact on Urdu literature.1. Parveen ShakirShakir had an unparalleled ability to aptly express womens vulnerability in her writings. Often termed a rebel, her work, bold and emotive, chronicled separation and the pain it ensues. She had published four best-selling books Khushbu (Fragrance, 1976), Sad-barg (Marsh Marigold, 1980), Khud-Kalami (Soliloquy, 1990) , Inkaar (Refusal, 1990)in her 18-year-long career and each book highlights her evolution from a teenager to a woman in and out of love. Shakir died in a car accident in 1994.2. Ada JafriConsidered one of the most popular poetesses in Urdu Literature, Jafris work deals with romanticism. She began writing at the age of 13 under the pen name, Ada Badaiyun. Her poetry often expresses the pride of the woman when in love.3. Anjum RehbarRehbar was born in Guha, Madhya Pradesh in 1962. Her style of writing focuses on contemporary issues, with a hint of romanticism, much like her predecessors Faraz and Jaun Elia.4. Fahmida RiazPopular for anti-establishment, feminist, and revolutionary writings, Riaz changed the world, one verse at a time. She started working at a young age and was synonymous with the radio show, Awaz Pakistan, which was later banned due to its revolutionary thought-provoking writing. As a result, her family had to spend seven years in exile. Here is a piece she wrote against the establishment while she was jailed.5. Meena Kumari NazPossibly one of the most sought-after actresses of all time, Meena Kumari was also a shayara who wrote about her tragic life and the unfair ways of the world. Her only book, Tanha Chand, was published in 1967. She was an avid reader and admirer of Ghalib, which clearly reflects in her work (her approach to separation and death resembles that of Ghalib).6. Mah Laqa ChandaBorn in 1769, Mah Laqa paved the way for women in an otherwise male-dominated field of Shayari. She served as a courtesan in the court of Nizam of Hyderabad, Nawab Rukn-ud-Daula, and was the first woman poet to author a diwan(collection of poems). It wasnt until the British published the manuscript of ghazals, Diwan-e-Chand, that Chand Bibi was recognised. Diwan-e-Chand is now preserved in The British Museum.Honorary mentions- Kishwar Naheed, Parveen Kaif, Asima Tahir, Amrita Pritam, and Azra Parvin.