“Girls are a miraculous creation of Allah, we have a compelling role, be it at home or in the field as a professional … If you are good at self-learning and you are self-motivated, you are unstoppable.” – Zartaj Waseem (CEO QriosityNet & Pi Space Science Education Centre | Tech Edupreneur | Game Changer | Innovator | STEM Educationist)
Jehan Ara, Asma Zaheer and Zartaj Waseem are paving the way for Pakistani women to take on Tech & Innovation
Women in Pakistan are assumed to not have an interest in Technology and Innovation, any hint of interest they show is snubbed. This is our minute effort to highlight their endeavors for a more inclusive future in Technology and Innovation.
The United Nations official theme for women’s day 2023 is DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for gender equality to celebrate and empower women globally to drive digital innovation & technological advancement. So naturally, zooming in on women in the Tech/Innovation Industry seems fitting.
Funny thing, while conducting our research for Pakistani women in tech can you guess what came up as the top most result? Who is the no.1 beautiful woman in Pakistan? Yes, can you imagine our disappointment when, despite it being 2023 – the age when women are ready to step into space, led government, technology and innovation in so many dynamic fields. All their accomplishments, efforts, painstaking journeys come down to this?
Let’s hope not, because women are strong, resilient and just as capable as anyone else. Its way beyond time we changed the criteria for accepting and uplifting women. “A tech sector study, conducted by PASHA in Pakistan show women take up only 14% of the workforce and the sector is dominated by male tech-prenuers and men in leadership positions too.”
Gender disparity (discrimination on the basis of gender leading to one gender being benefited/prioritized) is further worse for women in the information and communication technology. Though, a global phenomenon it is also present in developed countries however according to statistics, it is much worse in Pakistan.
It is therefore a mark of true success that these women in Pakistan, have emerged in the world of tech and innovation as groundbreakers. While specifically focusing on their emergence in the world of Tech and Innovation, here our 3 Pakistani women who have made us proud consistently:
Jehan Ara, not just the Founder and CEO of Katalyst Labs quite literally also the catalyst for innovative startups in Pakistan. After living in Hong Kong she moved to Pakistan in the 90’s and started a multimedia company alongside joining Pakistan Software Houses Association, her entrance into Pakistan’s under developed yet budding tech industry.
She progressed on to become PASHA’s president and even founded a tech incubator The Nest I/0. To further empower Information Tech in Pakistan, she is an avid speaker at seminars and conferences.
Her display of humility when she described herself as a “person of average intelligence” encapsulates how women can be trail blazers yet still quietly continue to work and overcome challenges.
To know more about her, click here.
Asma Zaheer, a Pakistani computer scientist received the “Best of IBM 2019” and was the first Pakistani to do so. IBM is a global tech giant, headquartered in New York where Asma has been working since 2013.
IBM chose winners based on choosing individuals who have worked hard in developing, growing the company and contributing to Tech and Innovation. IBM’s CEO and Chairman presented the award herself.
As a working mom there are often times she suffers from mom guilt but she just pushes through for her passion and all the women out there.
Her core area of interest is analytics, cloud computing and cognitive computing systems. Her hard work and growth is an inspiration for young female graduates to follow their passions and know the world is out there for them to conquer.
Zartaj, a software engineer by profession and a STEM education specialist. She is currently heading the robotics and STEM Studio at Haque academy. She has also co-founded the Robotics Lab.
Her portfolio is incredibly wide, she is also serving as a mentor at IBA’s STEM Education startups. Co-founding the first dedicated space science venture, the Pakistan Space Science Education Centre in 2015. She wants to see the Pakistani youth progress and capture the global stem job market.
Here we are sharing her words of wisdom and encouragement for girls:
“Girls are a miraculous creation of Allah, we have a compelling role, be it at home or in the field as a professional. First of all, it is imperative to get an education, and then something that I have assimilated and found very useful is the skill of self-learning. If you are good at self-learning and you are self-motivated, you are unstoppable. Our girls should be adaptable, assertive, and committed to what they dream of achieving.”
Despite their huge successes, they are still not considered as skilled as their male counterparts or not knowledgeable enough. They are not given the same media coverage or applauded as they should be. These women have forged the path for many and continue to work, to make Technology and Innovation an accessible sector for Pakistani women.
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