In our latest series of articles, we want to highlight the wonderful women from Pakistan who are the movers and shakers of their tech scene. Pakistan is a country which earns a reputation for all the wrong reasons. However, it is full of amazing and talented people. In this article, we focus on Anum Kamran. Read more about her below.
Tell us a little about yourself, your background, your work and your motivations.
Profile, education and all can be checked here:
In short, I am MS in software engineering. Started my tech entrepreneurship career in 2005 when I was in the start of my bachelors. It was a web solution provider company Apex Solutions. In 2012 I started another venture named Buyon.pk and there are a few more of my ventures which I am working on. Basically, the theme of all is to Empower Society Through Technology. I have also served some of my time to teach BS students at different universities, have been involved in conducting workshops and sessions about entrepreneurship, Online Selling, e-commerce, women empowerment etc. I do provide consultancy and coaching to startups as well.
Motivations: my forefather were businessmen, so technically entrepreneurship is in my blood. My father also tried many ventures but got failed in all of them due to various reasons and those learnings were actually my motivation. With his experiences, I know what not to do. Motivation to start Buyon.pk particularly, was my motherhood. I started this project after my first baby because online business is easier to manage from home without compromising primary responsibilities. My vision is to empower society through technology, and I am working closely with women, students and startups.
Do you think Pakistan has changed as a society, in terms of letting women take on jobs?
Yes, as a society now it’s a normal thing for women to work. There are many organizations, which are actually working for the wellbeing of women employees, they are working to keep them on board by providing facilities like daycare, maternity leave etc.
But still, there are some organizations with old school thinking which do not provide a safe, secure and welcoming environment. But I am positive, the future will be even brighter.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
I think there can be either of these two sides to look this. One – inside to outside approach. I.e. if we look from a viewpoint of woman intrinsically then it’s the woman herself who is the biggest barrier. As she has to understand that everything that she think is limiting her, whether its society, male dominance, opportunities and so forth are outsiders and it has nothing to do with the actions of women. And her actions are the cause of her leadership. If she feels herself helpless, then none else can empower her. While if she has strong imagination and belief of self-awareness and power of self-belief that her actions, in fact, shape the universe and future. Then she actually starts shaping the world.
While the other view is outside in, i.e. society and environment are limiting her. And not providing enough opportunities to develop strong leadership. To me, it’s not the case.
What is the best and worst decision you’ve ever made?
To me there is no worst decision, as I believe, good decision reaps out good results while bad or worse decisions reap out good learning and it helps out knowing weak areas that we need to work out.
What woman inspires you and why?
There is a list of women who inspired me actually. The only name I want to mention here is Hazrat Khadijah (R.A.) The first women entrepreneur who took over her father’s business in the era of dangerous male-dominance. She knew what she was doing business-wise, never compromising her modesty or integrity to succeed in the male-dominated trades. She was a successful esteemed businesswoman.
Do we have any role models for women? If not, what can we do to create them in Pakistan?
We do have so many women role models in Pakistan. The problem is lack of exposure and visibility. We can make them visible by highlighting their achievements by inviting them in panels.
Is there a neutral platform or forum for women to discuss their career needs?
Not really. But recently, a dear friend of mine Faiza Yousuf have taken this initiative to start a Facebook group with the name of WomenInTechPk, where we can discuss and share the career-related achievements, issues and advice.
There are other FB groups as well, but I assume other than FB groups there should be some formal neutral forum for women where she can be heard and advised neutrally.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
The generation behind me must be very lucky because in my generation women have started taking a step forward, they are becoming leaders. The next generation will definitely have more visible role models to follow.
What needs to change to help more women come forward?
Self Awareness of woman about herself, visibility of role models, productive networking and most important, skills to manage work-life balance.
If you could change one thing, what would it be?
If you are asking about change in system, I would definitely change the high school curriculum 🙂
How can OxGadgets and its readers help you and other women of the industry?
By organizing expert panel discussions (online/offline), by highlighting more success stories and by supporting women.
You can find out more about Anum by visiting her social and professional profiles: