In this latest series of articles, we are publishing interviews of some incredible women who are part of the tech industry or the broader STEM fields.
In these interviews, you will find women working on solving real-world problems, breaking stereotypes and creating the next big impact on the industry. This series of interviews shows that even with the lowest rate of women participation in the labor market in Pakistan, there are still lots of smart women who are creating and using technology to work wonders.
Today, we are featuring Yasmin Malik. Read on to know more about her work and get inspired.
Tell us a little about yourself, your background, your education, and your work.
I completed my MSc in IT from the University of London (UCL) in 1993. Happily married and a proud mother of two, I have three hats I regularly rotate between:
- Start-up Mentor
- Part-time Academic over many years (IBA, Karachi and Cass Business School, London & Greenwich University, London among others)
- Senior Partner & Consultant
Experience has led me into various industries, my core is telecommunications analyst, mobile technologies, mobile app design, and mobile marketing.
What are your future plans/aspirations? What impact it will have on the community/society/your team/your project?
To share knowledge is my biggest passion.
To do this, I continue working with Start-ups in Pakistan’s Entrepreneurial eco-system. Pakistan’s Entrepreneurship platforms are growing, but there are challenges with the Mentor networks. Mentorship requires commitment and dedication and, unfortunately, too many “Mentors” come only for the limelight – not the cause.
I am also working with USAID and Momentum on a pure pro-bono basis.
Please brag about your career accomplishments, what are the things you are really proud of?
- Represented Pakistan as the sole telecoms analyst for the UK’s Informa Telecoms & Media for 10 years
- Developed, launched and taught Pakistan’s first “bridging course” on Mobile Technology & Mobile Marketing at IBA to MSc and MBA student
- Authored the first published case study and research paper on Mobile Marketing in Pakistan published via Emerald UK and the Mobile Marketing Association (USA)
What has been your best education/career decision and why?
- Focusing on technology-related education/work
- Balancing family responsibilities with my career which on two occasions meant gladly pausing my career altogether. Too many women today express anguish about having to “sacrifice” their careers for family reasons.
In this age of technology, so much work can be done “remotely” – all you need is the Internet and the mind-set! Plus, it develops your time management skills
What’re the best lessons you’ve learned?
- “The darker the subject, the more light you must try to shed on the matter” (Sir Alan Ayckbourn)
- Women collaborate, produce high-quality work and remain dedicated PROVIDED their employer helps them balance work and their family responsibilities (children, in-laws, looking after aging parents etc – all very REAL responsibilities).
Which woman inspires you and why?
Margaret Thatcher. Because she was the “Iron Lady”.
Do you think Pakistan has changed as a society, in terms of accepting career-oriented women? What needs to change to help more women come forward?
In some ways, yes. But we are not necessarily “future-ready” in terms of supporting women in companies. At Global, where I currently work as Senior Consultant, we often ask: “with their current methodologies will they be there in next 2, 5, or 10 years? How are they supporting or neglecting any population in this company? “
Our research shows most of them then will not be there. They have challenges with not just women, but also cross-generations as employees and customers. Companies too often target one segment of the population and not the other.
Our work is in preparing companies for the future and not just today. With new technologies, international standards, and modern processes targeting cross-generations and cross-demographics in customers and employees.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
Genuine government and corporate support will be the biggest challenge.
A lot of it is lip service and bragging about “new initiatives” and numbers. On ground, the reality is very different. The synergy between ideation and execution is critical.
Public-private partnerships like the National Incubation Centres are a good example of how government support can have an impact. Unfortunately, even with NIC, there is still too much red tape on the government’s end.
If you could change one thing about the tech industry/business, what would it be?
More opportunities for remote and collaborative working – Less “office” culture. Women especially can do amazing work if they are allowed to choose their working hours and work from home or from community centers.
At Global, for example, we operate in a virtual environment with flexibility in “office hours” and we often encourage our clients to do the same – the focus should be in managing outcomes, not how the outcome is created
How can WomenInTechPK help you and other women?
Keep raising awareness of the great work that women are doing in technology.
You can follow Yasmin Malik using her profiles below, and please do not hesitate in hiring her for your next project.
ProWomen Profile: https://www.prowomen.pk/yasmin-malik