In this latest series of articles, we are publishing interviews of women who are working as a professional or a student in the technology sector. The objective is to highlight their work and contribution to the industry as well as to the community.
In these interviews, you will find women working in technology to solve real-world problems, to break stereotypes and to create the next big impact on the tech 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 Haadia Rasheed. 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 am a recent graduate of NED University and I majored in Telecommunication Engineering.
During the primary years of education, I had been a constant position holder, but even then, creative things, like art, stories and crafts used to attract me. I used to wonder ‘what gets them going?’ and ‘how do they think of it?’
As for secondary studies; I did my O’levels from the Fahims School and my A’levels from the City School, both with computing background. I had taken SAT I and SAT II exams on the basis of which I got into NED University.
NED University was a fresh start for me, I had thought to learn something new, it could be something relevant to my degree or it could be something entirely different. So, I started exploring my options through competitions and workshops.
I realized my talent for writing, it was not very good back then, but I knew I could learn, so I started writing as a freelancer. I was a content/academic writer for 3 years.
Currently, I’m working as a Technical Writer at Mazik Global.
What are your future plans/aspirations? What impact it will have on the community/society/your team/your project?
I’ve got precisely two main short-term goals right now.
The first one is that I want to be able to grow as a technical writer in the part of the tech world that I’ve stepped in to.
The second one is to be able to create a safe space for the less-privileged people of this city, where they can create, flaunt art, write and feel free. I want to be able to help people turn back to art and literature while doing everything else in their life.
I believe when people are given a chance of ‘letting out’ through colors and words, they become less frustrated, more patient and more focused.
Please brag about your career accomplishments, what are the things you are really proud of?
First of all, my final year project on its own was an accomplishment for all of my team members (Sara Salim, Rubab Farooq, Sania Fatima, and Haadia Rasheed). We made a smart first-aid vending machine from scratch. I call it an achievement because there was a lot of market research and building a structure involved, which was something entirely new that we had done.
I, along with my advisor and his colleagues, wrote a research paper based on our FYP which got published in the International Journal of Computer Science and Network Security.
I participated in the International Kangaroo Mathematics Contest in 2011 and stood at 82nd position in all of Pakistan. I have completed a Graphic Design course from Arena Multimedia in 2016.
I have won Wordsmith Warfare Award for a creative writing competition, held by NED’s Telecom society. The event was called NED Telecom Day ’16.
I have won an English Creative Writing Competition which was held by FAST University. The event was called ProCom ’18.
These events motivated me to start my own Instagram page where I post my writing pieces. There are some pieces that are longer and can’t be posted on Instagram effectively. So, I post those on my Facebook profile publicly.
What has been your best education/career decision and why?
I believe my best education decision was not to confine myself within one defined path and explore more.
What’re the best lessons you’ve learned?
I have been to a lot of schools and I have met a lot of people too, the things I learned about human interactions are what they taught me.
There is one thing that I learned which has also become the requirement of our society nowadays as well, is to be patient with people because we cannot know what inner battle one is indulged in, which kind of dread has their minds wrapped.
Another lesson that I’ve learned is that a person should not be restricted to one track. This concept has deprived our society from art and literature. Take an example of this pandemic, when people are confined to their homes and have more time at hand, they are turning towards art. Some are exploring their writing skills, others are exploring their painting skills and more. It was always inside them; they just couldn’t be ‘sailing two boats at once’.
It’s the idea of ‘success’ that crushes art, while I’d like people to believe that being able to create is a success on its own.
Which woman inspires you and why?
Every woman out there is doing something remarkably great, no matter how big or small her task is, I am inspired by each one of them for the great things they do in this constricted environment. My mother of all though inspires me the most.
Her ability to multi-task is amazing. Since my father had to work abroad, my mother had to manage 3 children; their education, their diet, their mental health and everything else while managing the house from the needs to the fixes, she had to become the savior of us all for the most part. She struggled so much these past ten years to construct a family like mine. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for her to do it all alone. I hope I’m able to do what she can someday.
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?
I think that Pakistan has come a long way in terms of accepting career-oriented women, but it still has a long way to go. In order to grow and evolve, we need this ‘acceptance’ to be normalized. It shouldn’t be treated as a privilege in our society but more like a right that has to be given. Then only, our society and country can grow beyond the limits.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
The biggest challenge the women after my generation will face is to be taken seriously by corporate institutions when it comes to being career-oriented. As far as the market goes, there is already a shortage of jobs, I’m afraid if the market and the attitudes remain that way, a lot of ambitions will be sacrificed. I hope it never happens.
If you could change one thing about the tech industry/business, what would it be?
I think I’d provide ease in commute. It should be less chaotic and less costly to go to work.
How can WomenInTechPK help you and other women?
WomenInTechPK is doing such great work in spreading and flaunting the efforts of women in Pakistan. They know they have a place that will accept their brilliance and showcase their talent. I’m very honored to have been interviewed by WomenInTechPK. I congratulate every member of this community who ensures that this platform keeps going and encouraging people.
You guys keep promoting and celebrating brilliance and that is all we women will need.
You can follow Haadia Rasheed using her profiles below, and please do not hesitate in hiring her for your next project.