Breaking Gender stereotypes in Recreational Sports
Tell us about your cycling journey?
Dania Hanif: I joined a cycling group in which a lot of men competed and cycled for long distances. I wanted to be a part of it to show that women can do the same. I cycled for 50km on my own and was appreciated a lot. Then I decided to attempt 100km parameter and but during that I faced an incident of eve teasing. I had a head-on collision with my cycle with them. I was rushed to the hospital by my driver and was on bed rest for 3 weeks. I was upset at myself as for not achieving my target and getting distracted. After three weeks I got on my bike again and attempted 100km ride, took me almost 7hour as I wasn’t well either but i managed to do it in one go.
If you could write your own story, how would it go?
DH: Young passionate girl who wants to achieve all her dreams and having her picture on the cover of Forbes magazine.
What is your educational background?
DH: A-levels and O-levels from Saudi Arabia, BE from NED University
Which organization do you represent?
DH: International Youth Leader at World Memon Organization
What industry are you working in?
What is your title at present company?
DH: Radio Frequency Engineering Consultant
What were your interests as a child?
DH: I was always a leader, so I would play all sorts of games in which they would make me the captain. My dad was the first person to recognize the trait of leadership in me. Also I have always been an avid reader at the same time had interest in outdoor sports like cycling.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
DH: My biggest achievement is to graduate with a degree of Bachelors of Electronic Engineering at the age of almost 20. I took admission when I was 16 years old and usually universities don’t accept students of that age group.
What challenges have you faced because of your gender?
DH: Engineering is a very male oriented profession. In a class of 60 students we had less than 10 girls. So I expected a bit of gender discrimination. Also the general mind set is such that people don’t invest time and resources on girls who want to become an engineer as eventually they get married.
Is your industry led by an equal number of women? If No, then why not?
DH: No, we hardly have females like 1 in 60 men, maybe.
Who has been your biggest role model?
DH: My father. I have always admired him the most and look up to him for all support and advice.
What role has luck played in your journey?
DH: I don’t believe in luck, I think it’s just hard work which pays off.
What role has your family played in your success or achievements?
DH: Major! My parents have always been very supportive. Belonging to a Memon community where girls get married at early age. My elder sister was the first girl in the family who went to a university for education. My parents took a stand and went against all odds, saying that my girls will be professionally qualified. My elder sister did MBBS from Pakistan. She received 8 gold medals at her graduation and one for being the best graduate of the university. She did her residency in Internal medicine in USA. It’s amazing how family support can make u achieve so much.