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 Zeea Hasan. Read on to know more about her work and get inspired.
Tell us a little about yourself, your background, your education, and your work.
My name is Zia but I am more popularly known as Zeea on social media. I was born and raised in Karachi, pursued my MSc in Microbiology from the University of Karachi and then joined Roche Pharmaceuticals as the Quality Assurance Executive. Due to my interest in computer graphics, I did courses in Computer graphics, 3D modeling, and animation from Discreet Kinetics, (Autodesk) USA. In 2002 I got married and moved to Saudi Arabia and lived there for 11 years. During this period, I founded a ladies networking club for Pakistani expats there which promoted women entrepreneurs working from home. Later, moved to Dubai, and served as the chairperson of Parents Council for a reputed Gems school. In 2016, I founded a nanotechnology powered company, NShield Solutions and collaborated with the prestigious BMW group in Dubai. The same year, I launched my company in Pakistan too. NShield Solutions provides revolutionary Nano-Ceramic Glass Coating and detailing services for Automobiles across Pakistan that beautify and protect the cars against various environmental pollutants and enhance their looks and life.
What are your future plans/aspirations? What impact it will have on the community/society/your team/your project?
I plan to further expand my company to more cities in Pakistan by offering franchises, bring more women to the automotive industry as well as to diversify our services. I am a strong advocate for women inclusion and empowerment and I believe I have broken barriers by successfully forming and leading a company in a heavily male-dominated Auto industry as well as setting an example for other women to follow.
I am also working as the team leader for Connected Women Islamabad which is a community of tech-powered women, women entrepreneurs and freelancers and have conducted 7 business networking events on diversified business topics that have helped hundreds of women. I will continue my journey of empowering women.
I have just launched my exclusive freelance consultation services for social media marketing and branding for struggling businesses and especially for women entrepreneurs. I am also planning to collaborate with organizations, businesses, and universities to conduct workshops helping clients develop business skills and knowledge.
Please brag about your career accomplishments, what are the things you are really proud of?
I greatly value the experience I gained by working in the Quality Assurance and Microbiology departments from manufacturing to finished product testing. This polished my detailing eye and my vision on Quality.
I am the first and only woman in Pakistan who has founded a Nano- Automotive Company, a company that represents 50% women on its board. This fulfills SDG5 (Gender Equality) and my passion for women inclusion and empowerment by practically demonstrating it.
I am contended that I kept the best work-life balance by managing my home and work efficiently. I am good at time management which has always helped me to excel on both fronts. I love building communities and conducted 7 business networking events in a year!
I feel I have a long way to go to achieve all that I desire. However, seeing women growing and excelling because of my efforts is something I am super proud of!
What has been your best education/career decision and why?
Restarting my career after the break of almost 16 years is so far the best decision of my life. I am now a happy mother and wife as well as a successful entrepreneur. Instead of focusing on the time I lost, I feel blessed to have given my full attention to my family and then rediscovering the path that quenched my thirst to excel in my career.
What’re the best lessons you’ve learned?
Set your sights high. Challenges may cross or trip you along the way, but keep the courage to proceed and the motivation to convert problems into opportunities.
Which woman inspires you and why?
There is empirical evidence that girls are discouraged from developing their skills in math and science from a young age. This is in large part associated with gendered stereotypes. Hence, every woman who breaks this stereotype and tries to prove that intelligence is not gender-dependent is a SHERO for me.
I personally like Ms. Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, the first woman to hold the position. She is the first woman in all of Asia to become the editor of a national daily newspaper. In 1994 Time magazine nominated her as one of a hundred people in the world who will help shape the 21st century, the only one from Pakistan. She is sharp, articulate and a confident 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?
We always assumed that ‘women’s work’ is to be found in areas such as home as caretakers or in healthcare, education, and retail only. Due to social pressures and taboos, women were hesitant to take up the challenge of exploring a career path. Pakistan is now progressing slowly but fairly good with a lot of support being extended from Govt. and other organizations to bring more women in the workforce but this progress needs to be statistically recorded and more efforts needed to include women in all decision-making boards so an enabling environment can be created and sustained. The 2011 Pakistan Employment Trends Report compiled by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, says that the percentage of working women in Pakistan has increased from 16.3% in 2000 to 24.4% in 2011. This means that an additional 7 million female workers have joined the workforce in a period of 11 years. Pakistani women in the present day and age have thrived immensely in all walks of life, including the corporate world. Pakistan has well-established employment and equal employment opportunities laws. However, their implementation needs to be more scrutinized. We need to focus more on creating a safe work environment for women and a support system so that they can take care of their families and also excel in their careers at the same time. Hence a cultural revolution is needed.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
I consider myself lucky that I and many women of my generation have now better opportunities and work environment than the previous generations. Time has changed now and slowly we are accepting women in non-traditional careers. Women of the 21st century do not want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. Leadership in business has been slowly evolving with more women stepping in leadership positions each year. However, the biggest challenge for a woman, still is, to prove to the world that she is capable of managing family and career both.
If you could change one thing about the tech industry/business, what would it be?
When employees perceive that digital transformation would threaten their jobs, they may consciously or unconsciously resist the digital changes. We need to create digitally adapted learning environment where same employees learn, grow and adapt to the new change without the fear of losing their jobs.
How can WomenInTechPK help you and other women?
WomenInTechPK has provided a network of extremely talented and helpful women in tech who are educated, experienced, determined, and helpful. It’s a safe zone for women to discuss work-related issues, seek career guidance and resources to grow.
You can follow Zeea Hasan using her profiles below, and please do not hesitate in hiring her for your next project.
ProWomen Profile: https://www.prowomen.pk/zeea-hassan