- What is the most challenging aspect of your position and why?
The most challenging aspect, first of all, is to be competitive with my colleagues. Being a woman has its constraints whether you’re working in the industry or an educational institute, so the biggest challenge is to prove yourself equal or slightly better than your male colleagues. Everybody evaluates women working in professional fields from their own perspective and since we have a cultural setback in our society so people view women as not very competitive as compared to their male colleagues.
- What is the key to balance your personal and professional life?
I’m not sure if I’ve found the key yet! It’s a new challenge every day. If you have to do well in your profession then you have to be competitive and keep abreast with the changes because education is like evolution, so things are evolving, technology keeps on changing and you have to keep up. At the same time you have to balance your responsibilities at home and no matter how professionally sound you are, the expectation from you is to just be a housewife at your home, so you’re expected to run your home as smoothly a housewife would. So that is quite a difficult thing but the blessing we have here in Pakistan is in the form of maids that we can here and also support from in-laws and family. So that is how it all becomes possible.
- Has anyone inspired you so far? Why & How? (Female)
Well, we don’t have many female engineers in this field; in fact, I was the first woman to enter into electrical engineering at UET Lahore that was back in 1979 and around that time there were no women in engineering. So, my motivation was my own interest in the field of electrical engineering and that was what brought me here. But, after that I’ve been very much impressed by my teachers who have taught me at UET, Dr. Shahid Bokhari, or when I was doing my Masters, Dr. Shaoib, who has opened his own company and is still working on providing solutions to the defense industry, have inspired me.
- Have you ever experienced any stigmas or biases against you because of being a working woman?
Well yes because when I started my job after passing out from UET, I applied at the Carrier Telephone Industries, and at that time there was no awareness that a woman can also apply for an engineering post. Though, I was selected as a candidate after going through the tests and interview, but I was never sent a letter by the management. For that, I had to fight my way to actually become an employ and then eventually I started my job at CTI. And as I mentioned before, when you’re working in technical areas, you have to prove yourself.
- What’s the most important thing you expect from colleagues and staff?
The most important thing I expect from my colleagues and staff is to have basic ethics and respect for the individual regardless of their gender. They should respect the difference of opinion and most importantly there should be trust between colleagues.
- In this male dominated society, how do you see the future of working women? (Way ahead than today? Sitting at home?)
Number of working women is on the rise and already women are excelling. The situation is far better than what it used to be ten years ago. It is like a cultural transformation, though a slow process, but acceptance is there and things are changing.
- Where do you see yourself after four years? (At home? Still working? A step ahead?)
Having come such a long way, I don’t really know but it’s an ongoing struggle in life. I would say after four years in life I see myself at the top but being at the top needs a lot of personal sacrifices as you have to come up to the expectations of your colleagues, staff and other people around you. The higher you go the narrower the road becomes.