#WomenInTechPK – First Focus Group Roundup!
#WomenInTechPK is a community building project that we have started in the Q4 of 2016. The initial idea was to have a platform where women who are directly or indirectly related to Tech can join in and get to know each other. We started from a Facebook group and within weeks managed to collect over 1000 members. From Software Engineers to Entrepreneurs, from Digital Marketers to Researchers and from Activists to Professors, we are reaching out to everyone to join in and be part of this vibrant community.
We have five admins and nine moderators in the group that belong to different cities and work in different areas, the common denominator here is their passion towards work and their ability to connect with people and offer help. Because of their commitment and help, we are trying to formalize things and work better towards bringing in a change.
With all these online discussions happening, I got a call from Sabin Muzaffar(Founder Ananke) that she is coming to Karachi and would like to meet the ladies in the group. So we called up the Admins/Moderators from Karachi with few other members and met on 7th January, 2017. We were hosted by Anum Kamran (CEO Buyon.pk) at her office in Center for Entrepreneurial Development, IBA – Karachi.
Anum and I had the pleasure to host Shumaila Hameed Khan - Freelance Software Engineer, NoorJehan Arif - CEO - Mushawar Consulting, Sana Hussain - Snr. Manager HR - 10Pearls, Madiha Yousuf Ahmed - CEO - Maddygital, Usra Sami - Assistant Professor - Iqra University, Samina Faisal Khan - CEO - Forifix and Sabin Muzaffar - Founder - Ananke. We were also joined by Uzma Kamran, she is a Mathematics teacher at Foundation Public School.
The three hour long discussion was enlightening and we talked about the issues that women usually face in the workplace and how mentoring Women on all levels can bring in the change. Sabin shared with us the stories from Ananke and Empower Women and about the happening in the Global community about Gender Equality and Women Empowerment.
Our members also talked about similar issues that we have here in Pakistan and how important it is to give facilities to new parents and to create a safe and inclusive environment for Women. Women are under-represented in the tech sector because of harsh working conditions, they tend to leave their careers especially after getting married because their organizations extend no support towards this new role in their lives. We also talked about ways to encourage women to get back to work and resume their careers by reaching out to Mentors and Sponsors.
In the end, we did small video intros and a summing up video too.
All in all, it was a productive afternoon and I loved the energy and resolve of these wonderful ladies. They are passionate, brilliant and tougher than anyone else I have ever met.
More power to all of us for standing against the odds!