#WomeninTechPK unite to bring more Pakistani girls in STEM
Faiza Yousuf has been on a long journey, both academic and entrepreneurial, to bring young Pakistani girls into STEM fields. This July, she put together her second event at 10pearls in Karachi which was frequented by students, techpreneurs, CTOs and CEOs, women-focused media platforms and policy makers at top organisations.
In an informal discussion, the women discussed one of the most critical ways girls can be encouraged into technology fields. One of them was mentoring one-on-one and one-to-many. However, the group agreed that this mentoring had to begin at an early age while girls were still deciding on their career paths. Women leading technology firms also pointed out that girls are becoming developers but their skills lag far behind boys. This gap needs to be filled with more training and better educational opportunities.
But when it comes to mentorship, younger women can be more inspiring and relatable than those who are further into their career path and journey. This is where schools, colleges and universities come in who the women can contact with a well-thought out long-term proposal. Once the colleges/universities see the value of mentoring, it can potentially become a regular activity for future students as well.
The women also took it upon themselves to curate a list of women’s colleges and come up with a proposal to send them. For this activity to be successful, every member’s participation is most important. That’s where women from the community were pushed to be in the spotlight so they can become role models for others.
One important point that was raised was that mentoring should come from diverse points of view. Men should be equally invited at such forums and events so they can be play their part to encourage more women into STEM.
Another aspect of this discussion was how marriage and other family responsibilities affect women in tech. Many shared their own company’s policies which included day cares and flexi timings. Researching and highlighting how such women-positive policies could lead to more loyalty or retention would make more organisations follow the lead.
There are also plans to make the community more active and engaging through webinars or live sessions with a popular topic in STEM. Both 10pearls and Genetech offered their own facilities for such training for women.
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