Today, women are struggling to perform in the still-very-male-dominated technological realm. Its not like the actual work is difficult for us; the ‘real’ challenge is to stay in harmony with the prevalent (and sometimes toxic) office environment. As a fresh appointee or even as a senior staff member, many women feel that they stood secluded, completed their work quietly, and remained non-verbal on office matters for quite a long time. Most feared that they would be labeled as uncooperative or bossy if they spoke out.
If a woman thinks a project can be better accomplished in a certain way, it's been generally noticed that she doesn’t speak up for her idea. Normally, as has been generally seen, and especially in our culture, she waits for others to present their points. She fears that her idea might be incorrect, or that she might be considered dictatorial. As a result of this behavior, not only her career is directly effected, but indirectly, the efficiency of the company goes down tremendously. One solution to this is to activate strong allies at the work place.
Most women report that when they were finally vocal on a technical project, and the male boss or male counterparts did not quite agree, they took the disagreement almost as an ego problem. For such men, it is time to understand that diversity in any field at both, institutional and personal levels, is vital for the progress of the company and its work. It is important for a workplace to have different members with diverse emotional intelligence and various technical interests. Sabotaging this multiplicity for personal validation harms not only the individuals involved, but also the company, and the society on the whole. Fortunately, the need of the day is DYNAMIC team work.
Sounds silly that we should be even saying this to adults, but men at workplaces need not see women as a threat towards their own aptitude. There is no need to be ashamed if and when a woman colleague achieves something bigger for the company. Women on the other hand need to stop camouflaging themselves within their emotional shell; rather they should celebrate their success together with all male and female colleagues. Culture of seeking help from colleagues in times of need should be integrated within the organizational fabric, inhibitions should be diminished. Any company can be more productive if it welcomes new ideas and fresh mindsets, instead of sticking to outdated techniques.
Why are allies necessary at workplaces?
The bottom-line is this: This is not a man vs. woman debate. Equality cannot be achieved without support from men. At workplaces, if progress is desired, then men who think a woman colleague is sound in her particular decision, need to voice their agreement out loud. Also, especially whilst in a tech-oriented discussion, when a man feels that the female colleague knows the point of conversation better, he should acknowledge it at large. If an equally qualified woman applies for a job, there are no justifiable grounds to deny her the job based on her gender. If a woman gets harassed in the workplace, there should be zero forbearing for harassment. Period. Inequality just cannot be tolerated anymore. Men need to speak out if they witness discrimination against a female colleague. Trust us, this helps!!
How can one be your ally
An ally who boosts your confidence. Not all people are bold enough to simply walk up to a colleague and ask: “Hey! Will you be an ally to me, here in the office?” It’s a deep-seated global fear. If a woman feels hesitance in speaking out loud in an open discussion, one way for her to be heard is to discuss her ideas with a friendly colleague, male or female. Having done so, she can dispel a little bit of that fear of dismissal, as she would now know that when she does finally speak up, this particular ally will support it. With time, a woman can become comfortable being assertive, as she gains confidence that her ally (and hopefully, allies) are by her side. Like all other life’s relations, this relationship can only be built on trust, positivity, and responsibility.
An ally who helps you out from sticky work situations. When stuck in work, most women generally feel shy to seek advice from colleagues. But most tech projects are greatly challenging, and require quite a lot of R&D. When one is already doing the hard work, then along with all the brainstorming there should be no shame in asking a colleague for help. An experienced colleague can help and mentor a junior for the next big tasks. Not only does reaching out helps solve the current problem, it also creates a healthy and nurturing work environment. Most women noticed that once the initial conversational hesitance was bridged, they were able to get more involved in the larger picture of the organization through conferences and discussions etc., and were able to progress faster.
An ally who stands by you in time of need. Good manners are the key to all that which repels evil. But sometimes, one has to confront people, especially if one is a woman being harassed by a colleague. While this may not be the first choice many women make; asking the harasser, "What do you mean?" can help make the snide remarks or lewd comments more visible. Until recently, the norm has been that whenever a woman gets bullied / harassed, the first blame goes to the woman, regarding her as “guilty”. A solution to this is to make allies who can be relied upon for their help in such a situation. Sometimes organizations have policies for conflict management, whereby they provide moderators for arbitrations. Having allies who can testify about your self can be a valuable asset in such cases.
Stand out, be brave!
So, to wrap up:
Dear male colleagues,
And, if you see something, say something!
Engr. Ayesha Alam Khurram
Be brave to challenge the norm you can’t digest.
WE ARE HIRING!!
Women Engineers Pakistan is looking for talented writers to contribute to our blog. We work to draw attention towards difficult topics; such as: Advocacy for women in STEM fields, Policies and Statutes to facilitate STEM talent within the country, Measures taken against workplace/sexual harassment, Resources available to encourage and retain women in STEM fields, etc. We also conduct interviews with women in tech. fields, run STEM Summer camps, etc., and would need bloggers to cover such events. Please do familiarize yourself with our blog at http://www.womenengineers.pk/blog
If you have a creative side, are willing to conduct deep and result-oriented research, and of course, are completely aware of the perils of plagiarism, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, June 16th 2017
UNDP Pakistan is looking for eligible female candidates to fill one of it's roles for the UNDP FATA Recovery Project. See attached. Interested candidates, please send in your resumes to email@example.com
This work requires extensive experience of field monitoring of infrastructure schemes across KP and FATA which will involve working closely with Government counterparts, contractors and Pakistani security agencies.
Note from Recruiter:
UNDP Pakistan has received CVs of very good male candidates. However, in order to outreach further, we do need very good female candidates interested to work in KPK (Peshawar, Bannu and DI Khan).
Many of our readers have trouble finding a job relating to the field of engineering because they have trouble finding companies that cater to their engineering qualifications and requirements.
It is for these precise reasons that I have created two lists of companies for my readers; The first mentions top 5 engineering companies of Pakistan.
Top Five Engineering Companies in Pakistan
As most of us are unlikely to land an engineering job in a high - tech company. Here is a list of other credible engineering companies alongside their contact information ( in the attached hyperlink). The companies are focus - centered around three cities:
That was your list for engineering companies within Pakistan. Make sure you CV is updated before emailing or contacting said companies.
Vivacious sand making waves
"We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.”
Most women, not all; on a subconscious level believe that we are unworthy and undeserving of our own success and accomplishments. Therefore, we passively go about our careers, not considering ourselves "worthy" of praise and recognition. This Sheryl Sandberg so aptly defines as the Tiara Syndrome. Our basic inability to come to terms with our own self - recognition.
Now, most of you may not have heard of Sheryl Sandberg. And those of you that have, perhaps only know of her as the COO of Facebook. But let me assure you, she is about to change the way you see yourself and your potential as a woman in the working environment. Her most recent path to success was carved by her philanthropic book Lean In. The goal of this book is women empowerment. In her 2010 TEDTalk was an awe inspiring speech, on the ways women are held back—and the way we hold ourselves back.
Which leads me to ask the complicated question, despite drastic changes urging for women to empower each other why and how are Pakistani women holding themselves back?
More importantly; who is to be blamed for such an act? – Women themselves, Pakistani society, or a tango between the two variables?
Unfortunately, many women in Pakistan suffer from the “Tiara syndrome”. And trust me; we are not alone in our suffering. This is a worldwide phenomenon that women are suffering from.
As Glamour Magazine in May of 2006 put it, "It’s not like Glamour to admit this, but there is something that men do better than women: ask for a raise."
This is the often, sweetly flawed thinking that if we as women keep our head down in the work place, perform diligently and work amicably hard. The right person (our boss) will recognize our efforts and award us accordingly.
This naïve thought though unlikely, is possible. But (and this is a big But...) Ladies, let’s face it , having “hope” and “optimism” as a strategy in the work place, is not much of a strategy at all.
And most of you are still in denial that women suffer from the Tiara Syndrome; however in the enlightening book, “Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide,” by Linda Babcock and Sara Leschever they sum up perfectly the extreme effects of women suffering from the Tiara Syndrome.
I feel in Pakistan women suffer from mild to extreme cases of this syndrome. And while there might be a deep rooted problem in the female psyche for not asking for what we deserve. This is a problem that can be solved very easily.
After all a 10 minute uncomfortable decision for a better salary and consequently better standard of living is a small price to pay.
Firstly, you need to learn to negotiate; negotiate your salary, negotiate your working hours and negotiate your compensation and bonuses. This on face vale seems unfair. Especially, on the grounds; what most women need to negotiate to attain in Pakistan and across the globe. Men get handed freely.
However, this is just step 1 in the “Lean In” strategy described by Sheryl to empower women to achieve and rise in the workplace. I feel this point was eloquently put forward as well by Negotiating Women Inc.
Moreover, I urge Pakistani women to realize; you are not alone in your symptoms from suffering from the Tiara Syndrome epidemic. As I stated earlier, this is a worldwide phenomenon.
A study by University of California Irvine study on organizational behavior found 17 % of women felt responsibility for ensuring their salary reflected their value, while 83% of women left it to their employers to decide how much they were worth.
Jane Anderson, the executive career coach at Inside Out Training and Coaching is quoted to have said “women tend to be more collaborative and inclusive, often playing down their contributions and acknowledging others achievements”. I agree with this statement a 110% and yes, some of you readers may be thinking this, in actuality is a good and humble quality to have. I agree with that demographic of readers as well. However, this quality in the working environment is not going to be an asset to Pakistani women. Corporations that you work for mainly solely care for making profit no matter how great the working culture is. That is why it is pivotal that you OWN your skills ladies and make the most beneficial use out of YOUR abilities and qualities.
I have come up with an acronym “ P.T.S.D.” – the Pakistani Tiara Syndrome Dilemma. This is the tiara syndrome and its mutually exclusive nature in the context of Pakistan.
Whether women and young girls, feminists or anti – feminists wants to admit it or not despite the patriarchal nature of our society, women get free passes and, away with a lot more, than men do.
This is not due to men being “sleazy” but quite the polar opposite. It is because the general teachings in our society have raised men to respect women and place them in high regard. That is why, when a woman is 50 Rs short while purchasing canteen food is exempted from paying the total amount. But a man may not be so lucky. Or if a man and woman both are waiting for a rikshaw in Lahore, the man will allow the woman to take the first rikshaw and wait for the second one.
This general culture of assisting and showing courtesy to women strongly prevails in Pakistan; as chivalry is not dead in this great nation.
However, I have come across the point, which women on a subconscious level assume the same culture of chivalry shall translate into the workplace. Social politeness and professional courtesy cannot be mixed up because it will result in a working culture of biased-ness.
Therefore, I propose workshops be conducted so that women remain conscious of how to avail maximum benefits as men do; via working credentials and utilising their work experience. Not based on societal reliance of “chivalry”.
Other methods that Pakistani women can adapt to beat the Tiara Syndrome:
Iman Advice – promoting yourself may not come naturally at first, you may even feel like you are “boosting” about yourself or showing off. In order to feel less awkward while promoting yourself, you may identify the ways in which you feel comfortable being recognized. Secondly, the key here is, not to overdo it. Just like everything else in life, say and do things in moderation. Do not be on a 24/7 rant of your skills, work ethic and capabilities. Have the wisdom of differentiating and understanding;
Sense of occasion
Sense of proportion
Then, when the opportunity and time presents itself. Talk of your accomplishments. Which, in the long hall will translate into your salary.
For a more in – depth understanding of the tiara syndrome and it’s limiting women career’s I advice you read Women’s Agenda article on the matter.
Lastly ladies, understand that negotiation is an evidence – based process. Pakistani females are known to be a tad bit “jazbaathi”. You can’t after reading this, go into work the next day and say to your boss “. I demand a raise in my salary because I worked really hard this year”. This is not how the world works. You need to have substantial evidence backing your statement, and you need to understand overcoming the Tiara Syndrome in the Pakistani workplace is going to be a time consuming process.
So, just adhere to the following points further elaborated by HUFFPOST;
Vivacious. And making waves.
How much have you achieved in your current job? How many monthly, annual or quarterly targets have you met? What are the major projects you undertook and your team leader commended you for your effort? You need to answer all these questions in your resume. As you progress in your job over the years, you somehow forget to update your resume. Keep track of all your major and minor achievements at work and make sure you add them to that one document which can earn you better opportunities.
Your resume is probably the most important document to help your potential employer take a glance into your professional experience, qualification and what you are capable of. There are various schools of thought on how important this document is. There are a few who believe that it is your communication and interpersonal skills which matter most, but there are others who believe that your resume is the single most important document to help you in getting a job.
Your resume might not be the single most important thing in earning you a great employment opportunity, but it is definitely something that will build up your chances of getting an interview call or creating a place in the market. It is therefore important that you pay close attention to how you build up your resume overtime.
Along with the projects undertaken at the current job, you must look for accomplishments which are beyond your current job requirement. Stay updated about the latest happenings in your area of expertise by undertaking extra courses, trainings or workshops. Stay a step ahead of what your organization has assigned you with. It is always easier to switch jobs if you have something more than ordinary on offer. Today, apps like edX, coursera, duolingo, etc. enable you to undertake online distant courses from renowned universities and learn new languages, free of cost. This can be a substantial add-on in your resume along with your current job experience.
When you start off as an entry level candidate, your resume is more focused towards your education and interests, whereas at the mid-level it is more experience-centered. Therefore, when you have been associated with a particular field over a couple of years, you list down your major accomplishments or targets achieved, in quantitative terms, within that field. Another major change is that the education section moves towards the end of the resume as you become a professional. It is your experiences which will help you stand out.
If you undertook a certain project and it earned the organization a calculable increase in revenue, etc. mention it on your resume. This makes the accomplishment prominent and noteworthy. Not only this, the skills mentioned on your resume must become more relevant to your core competencies over time. Certifications, professional examinations, etc. related to your area of expertise must be replaced by generic skills.
Building up your resume as you climb up your professional ladder is immensely important. Every target that you achieve, every skill that you enhance, every serious interest that you have deserves a place in your resume. Create it in such a way that the ten second glance which the recruiter makes at your resume is captivating enough.
Be the change you want to see.
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6. Office Suite:
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Be the change you want to see.
Landing a tech internship in Pakistan has not only become a very tricky process but seemingly, also an incredibly difficult one. Competition is tougher than ever and market saturation is prevailing rampantly across our nation, no longer limited to only the main cities such as Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.
More importantly it is no longer substantial to have a good degree from a good university as a fresh graduate are required to have “experience” before “experience” in order to land a tech internship.
However, fear not young readers, for this article solely focuses on attaining a tech internship within Pakistan alone, addressing some particular issues that can only be found in Pakistan when trying to land a tech internship.
I personally found it astonishing to discover that many graduates in this field are unable to properly describe what a tech internship really is. Thus, let us begin by offering concise understanding of this before diving into the process of successfully landing a tech internship.
So What Is A Tech Internship?
6 Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Steps of Landing a Tech Internship in Pakistan:
Number 1: Think Outside of the metaphorical box that is your resume;
Don't make haste and assume resumes are not important. They are crucial when it comes to landing a tech internship, however, the reality is that resumes are kind of old school. As an alternative, an online portfolio could go a long way in getting you noticed. This is because it increases your visibility and makes your presence known on an array of different platforms. An online portfolio offers you the edge of diversity which is crucial in landing a tech internship in Pakistan, specially considering the fact that you do not want to be seen as a carbon copy of every individual that possess the same degree as you.
Number 2: Do Not Be Afraid to Try or Say New Ideas;
I once heard someone say that “new ideas are like a breath of fresh air.”
As the world around us is becoming relatively homogeneous due to globalization a consequence of this is the “Mcdonaldlisation” of society and ideas. This basically means that people are losing traits and characteristics that are unique to them, their culture, and heritage in exchange for global trends that might seem more efficient, but which are also highly impersonal and lackluster. For this precise reason companies looking to hire interns are seeking for new ideas and pioneering projects.
Therefore, in an interview do not be afraid to give your opinion and individualistic perspective about upcoming ideas. This can show your potential employer that you are a motivated and excited about landing an internship with them, and are willing to work vigorously to succeed. More prominently, it indicates that you are a confident individual who is willing to take calculated risks in the field of innovation. This is crucial to current tech companies looking to hire interns.
Number 3: Do Your Research;
All in all this means come prepared to the interview! Not solely in terms of rehearsing your answers to the likely questions that you are to be asked, but this also implies knowing the “ins and outs” of the company you are trying to gain an internship for. In order to do so, it would be wise to keep in mind the following points:
Number 4: Power of Passion;
Passionate people have the potential to engage the interviewer especially because they stand out from the rest of the applicants. “During your interview or at a networking event, tell companies what you’re passionate about. Show them that you can make a dent.” - Mike Champion said this in his article on successfully scoring a tech internship and I cannot agree with him more.
Passion is an innate and personal quality that can only be attained when you are genuinely looking forward to the internship; so please do show how passionate you are about the position. Especially, as it will distinguish those Pakistani interns applying simply to reach a means to an end, and those Pakistani interns applying for a genuine love of technology. Make it a point to demonstrate your wish to further your professional development and growth from a career and personal perspective in the field of tech, and let them know why their company is the place to do so.
Number 5: Be a Team player;
Usually in the framework of a tech internship, as the internship commences, the norm is not that the intern be working alone. They have to engage with or be a part of a bigger team for assignments, projects and at times even field work. Therefore, though it is good to possesses leadership qualities one also has to come off as a team player. Now, many of you must be thinking "How can I come off as a team player in a 40 minute interview?”
This is very easy, for example try using the terms “we” instead of “I” when talking about group projects or “hum” instead of “mein” if your interview is partly being conducted in Urdu. This will show the interviewer that you are probably a better working cultural fit than candidates that don’t show much interest in collaborating with their co -workers.
Number 6: Fix Up and Look Sharp;
I cannot begin to stress how important this statement is. Remember when it comes to landing an internship presentation is everything, well, 80% of everything; because if you are not dressed appropriately, or if you look either too done up or too casual both can be your downfall.
Therefore, it is always best to dress in a professional manner. For men, a simple white/ blue collar shirt, black trousers, belt, socks and polished shoes and for women a nice shalwar kameez with tidy hair shall do the trick. Remember, personal hygiene and professional look account for a lot, especially when it comes to making first impressions. So do not falter in this regard.
Lastly, here are some simple DO's and Don’ts to landing a tech internship in Pakistan:
Here are some YouTube videos for extra luck and preparation:
Vivacious. And making waves.
Pakistan has a major chunk of population which is lying idle as an inactive member of the labour force. In order to avoid the wastage of this resource, the reasons which hinder their active participation in the economy must be addressed. A major cause for non-participatory workforce is the inability of the people to go out of their home to find work, especially women. Women are generally looked upon as the only ones to fulfill domestic responsibilities, for which they often must find convenient ways to earn from home in Pakistan.
Earning from home has various advantages. It saves the cost of daily commute from work to home, it has flexible working hours, it helps you spend more time with your friends and family and above all it gives you confidence and a sense of empowerment because you contribute to the economy.
There are various ways in which you can earn from home but I have listed 10 of them for you.
1. Graphic Designing:
Freelancer.pk, upwork.com, peopleperhour.com and many more bring the employee and employer in contact. Those who want to work from home can take online projects from these certified and authentic websites and work according to their comfort level. Short graphic designing courses are offered by various institutions and online, too which can help you enhance your skills at the job.
2. Article writing and blogging:
Various websites are looking for potential bloggers and content writers on a daily basis. There are plenty of them advertised on freelancer, Craigslist, fiverr, freelance writing gigs, etc. This task not only earns you a handsome amount but also gives you the opportunity of enhancing your knowledge by researching a varied range of topics. It is also a neat little entry in your resume while you sit and earn from home in Pakistan.
4. DIY projects:
One form of creative work which can be done from home, and can still earn you an honest paycheck is by marketing something you’ve been doing just for leisure or that has been your passion. If you are good at crafts, designing clothes, creating party props, etc. then all you need is to cash your talent. Market your idea well using social media outlets or by involving a few friends and start off from a lower scale to start to earn from home in Pakistan. Once things start gaining ground, launch something new. This can be a continuous process of re-creating and experimenting what you love.
Another resourceful way of making efficient use of your knowledge and earn at the same time is through mentoring or tutoring. You can always offer your services to kids in the local vicinity, or even online. If you think you were good at a particular subject in your college or university or you recently took training for a certain skill which you think other people might need as well, you can definitely earn through it.
Consultancy is gaining immense popularity these days. Earning by giving your expert opinion about things which others might find difficult is an increasing source of income for people who have the ease of working from home. Providing consultancy on Human Resource, legal issues, real estate market, etc. are a few popular one. You can connect to a specific group which provides consultancy or you can either provide your services as a freelancer.
7. Virtual Assistant:
If you are good at data entry, managing social tasks, managing emails, creating data presentations, doing online research, etc. then a job of a Virtual Assistant is fit for you. Freelancer and Upwork have many job postings of virtual assistants which are well-paid and easy to comply with while being at home.
Cooking and selling stuff that your family and friends compliment you for, can be a great business idea. Cook from home and sell it to people at their door step. This can become fairly easy if you are passionate about cooking or baking. You can use a few marketing strategies to create a buzz about your business and then start off.
9. Social Media Manager:
Jobs which require managing social media accounts of a specific organization or personalities is also a home-based task. This task earns you well, depending upon the time which your employer asks you to spend online. Freelancer, staff.com and many more advertise such jobs on a regular basis. All you need is a few SEO skills and efficient use of social media networks.
10. Customer Service Agent:
A customer service agent’s job requires you to be an organization’s representative and communicate with its customers on its behalf. It is usually outsourced and home-based, enabling you to establish yourself and earn from home in Pakistan. Upwork has a variety of customer service agent jobs displayed. A good internet connection, efficient English-speaking (generally) and communication skills can make you fit for this job.
Be the change you want to see.