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Bringing together the next generation of digital innovators in Pakistan: Meet Asra Nadeem

Priya Chopra's picture
The Digital Youth Summit (DYS) is a technology focused conference that takes place annually in Peshawar, Pakistan.  As an introduction to some of our experts, we bring to you the third Speaker Spotlight featuring the young Vice President at DraperU, Asra Nadeem. The upcoming DYS is on April 27-28, 2018. Register now here
 
Asra Nadeem


Asra Nadeem (AN) heads up the entrepreneurial programs and partnerships at Draper University, a pre-accelerator for global startups tackling the world’s most intractable problems. She is also a Venture Partner at DraperU Ventures, an early stage venture fund. Apart from designing and delivering programs, she works directly with governments, universities and international incubators to establish local entrepreneurial hubs, investment opportunities and corporate innovation initiatives.

Before working at Draper University, Asra worked on product and market development for startups in the Middle East, North Africa and South-East Asia. She was the first female product manager in Pakistan for Rozee.pk, where she not only worked with the CEO to secure venture funding from DFJ but grew the product and company to 150+ employees.  She is a space technology enthusiast who reads avidly about space and the future of humanity.

Tell me a little about what you are working on now?  How did you get started?

Bringing together the next generation of digital innovators in Pakistan: Meet Aurelie Salvaire

Priya Chopra's picture

The Digital Youth Summit (DYS) is a technology focused conference that takes place annually in Peshawar, Pakistan. In the lead up to the summit, we bring to you the first of our Speaker Spotlights featuring Aurélie Salvaire. The upcoming DYS is on April 27-28, 2018. Register now here.  

Aurelie Salvaire

Aurélie Salvaire (AS) is a French author and social entrepreneur passionate about gender and narratives. She has been working for the past 10 years in the social innovation field, collaborating with Oxfam, Ashoka, Unreasonable Institute and Impact Hub.  She is also a very active speaker and trainer, promoting greater diversity and shedding light on lingering stereotypes through her platform Shiftbalance.  She recently shot a 28 minutes documentary on masculinity in Pakistan called Maard Ban (Be a man).

Tell me a little about what you are working on now?  How did you get started?

AS: Majority of my activities is now on Shift balance – Our NGO was initially registered in Spain, but our activities are worldwide. We do lot of trainings and workshops mostly on leadership and empowerment for young girls around the world. 

We have been working mostly in Pakistan the last year with different schools, universities, and companies, teaching young girls about storytelling - how to tell their stories, how to be more confident in the public and how to believe in themselves.

I recently shot a documentary on masculinity called “Maard Ban” as a part of the “Be a Man” series.  Our book, “Balance the world”, published and designed in Pakistan, is an anthology of solutions to balance the world. The idea of transforming everybody into a balance maker is what drives me -  to be sure that everybody at their own level can contribute to gender equity.

What do you think is the future for youth in the tech industry?

AS: We know that 80% of the jobs will require technological skills.  We know that technology is shaping our future, so it’s extremely important that young people get involved in tech so that the technology in future is shaped for their needs.  For me, one of the great assets is that technology breaks hierarchies. 60% of the population is under 30 years old in Pakistan.  This makes them very accessible to technology and open to what is going around in the world, and they will shake the structures of power.

How one province in Pakistan is looking to digital jobs for its youth

Anna O'Donnell's picture
Hamza Khan, a Trainee Website Developer
Hamza Khan is a trainee website developer that has benefitted from KP'sYouth Employment Program

Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, or KP, has not always been recognized as a digital economy. Sharing a border with Afghanistan, the province experienced a period of instability and militancy over several decades that saw outmigration and the decline of private industries. Since then, the province has shown rapid economic growth, advancements in security, improvements in basic health and education, and a renewed sense of optimism.

Today, around half of the province’s population of 30.5 million is under the age of 30, necessitating rapid growth and job creation. In 2014, the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa partnered with the World Bank to develop a strategy for job creation centered on leveraging the digital economy to address youth unemployment.
 

Digital KP
Digital KP”, that outlines a program on digital development that promotes youth inclusion and job creation.

Fast forward to 2018, and the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has launched a comprehensive digital strategy, called “Digital KP”, that outlines a program on digital development, with a core objective to promote youth inclusion in the digital economy. Within this broader digital strategy is a strong focus on promoting job creation for youth.

Addressing youth employment through the digital economy has three key building blocks:

இலங்கை மகளிர் முன்வர தயங்க வேண்டுமா?

Seshika Fernando's picture
Also available in: English | සිංහල
Women in Sri Lanka routinely experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Some have been denied promotions, been paid less than their male peers, and sexually harassed at work
இலங்கையில் பெண்கள்  அவர்கள் பணியிடங்களில் துன்புறுத்தல்களை எதிர்கொள்வது வழமையான விடயமாக காணப்படுகின்றது.

நான் பணிபுரியும் நிறுவனத்தில் பணியில் அக்கறையற்ற நபர்களிற்கு  இடமில்லை என்ற கடுமையானகொள்கையை பின்பற்றுகின்றோம் .தங்கள் சக பணியாளர்களை வம்பிற்கு இழுக்கும் கேலி செய்யும் நபர்களிற்கு இடமில்லை என்பதே இதன் அர்த்தம்.எங்கள் பணியாளர்கள் ஏனையவர்களின் தனிப்பட்ட விடயங்களிற்குள் தலையிடுவதில்லை. அழைப்பில்லாத தனிப்பட்ட தொடர்புகளை ஏற்படுத்துவதில்லை.இலங்கையில் பெண்கள்  அவர்கள் பணியிடங்களில் துன்புறுத்தல்களை எதிர்கொள்வது வழமையான விடயமாக காணப்படுகின்றது.ஆனால் இது போன்ற கொள்கைகள் ஒரு பாலினத்திற்கு மாத்திரம் சார்பாக காணப்படுவது இல்லை.ஆண்கள் இதன் நன்மையை அனுபவிக்கின்றனர்.

துரதிஸ்டவசமாக எனது நிறுவனத்தின் கொள்கை என்பது விதிமுறை என்பதை விட தனித்துவமானது.சமீபத்தில் பெண் பொறியியலாளர்களை சந்தித்து அவர்களின் அனுபவங்களை கேட்பதற்கான வாய்ப்பு கிடைத்தது.ஒருவர் களப்பணிகளிற்கு செல்வது எவ்வளவு கடினமானதாக காணப்படுகின்றது என தெரிவித்தார். தனது ஆண் சக தொழிலாளர்கள் தன்னை மதிக்க விரும்பாததாலும் தனது வழிகாட்டுதல்களை செவிமடுக்க விரும்பாததாலுமே இந்த நிலை காணப்படுவதாக அவர் தெரிவித்தார். ஏனைய பெண்களிற்கு பதவி உயர்வு மறுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது, 
 

Sheshika Fernando addressing the gathering at an international conference
நான் சர்வதேச தொழில்நுட்ப மாநாடுகளில் அடிக்கடி எனது நிறுவனத்தை பிரதிநிதித்துவம் செய்கின்றேன்.

 

அவர்களுக்கு அவர்களது ஆண்சகாக்களை விட குறைவாகவே ஊதியம் வழங்குகின்றனர் அவர்கள் பாலியல்ரீதியிலான துன்புறுத்தல்களை எதிர்கொள்ளவேண்டியுள்ளது.

ශ්‍ර‍ී ලාංකික කාන්තාව තවදුරටත් පසුපස අසුන් ගත යුතුද?

Seshika Fernando's picture
Also available in: English | தமிழ்
Women in Sri Lanka routinely experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Some have been denied promotions, been paid less than their male peers, and sexually harassed at work
ශ්‍ර‍ී ලංකාවේ කාන්තාවන් නිරතුරුව රැකියා ස්ථානවලදී හිංසනයන්ට ගොදුරු වන අතර සමහර කාන්තාවන් උසස්වීම් අහිමි ව ගොස්, සිය පුරුෂ වෘත්තීය සගයින්ට වඩා අඩු වේතන ලැබී, ලිංගික හිංසනයන්ට ද ලක්ව තිබිණ.

මා සේවය කරන සමාගමෙහි දැඩි "අවහිර නොකිරීමේ" ප්‍රතිපත්තියක් පවතී. ඉන් අදහස් වන්නේ, තමන්ගේ සහෝදර සේවක-සේවිකාවන්ට හිරිහැර කිරීමට හෝ සමච්චල් කිරීමට කිසිවකුට ඉඩක් නොමැති බවයි. අපගේ සේවකයින් එකිනෙකාගේ පෞද්ගලික අවකාශයන් ආක්‍රමණය නොකරන අතර අනාරාධිත පෞද්ගලික සම්බන්ධතා ඇති කරගැනීමට උත්සුක නොවේ. ශ්‍ර‍ී ලංකාවේ කාන්තාවන් නිරතුරුව රැකියා ස්ථානවලදී ලිංගික හිංසනයන්ට ගොදුරු වන නමුත් මෙවැනි ප්‍රතිපත්ති අනුග්‍රහය දක්වන්නේ එක් පාර්ශවයකට පමණක් නොවේ. පුරුෂ පාර්ශවයද මෙහි ප්‍ර‍තිලාභ භුක්ති විඳිති.

අවාසනාවකට මෙන්, මගේ සමාගමේ ප්‍රතිපත්තිය නීතියක් නොව ව්‍යතිරේකයකි. මෑතකදී මට මෙරට කාන්තා ඉංජිනේරුවන් හමුවී ඔවුන්ගේ අත්දැකීම් විමසන්නට අවස්ථාවක් ලැබුණි. එක් තැනැත්තියක් මට කීවේ ඇයගේ රැකියාව කෙතරම් අභියෝගයට ලක් වන්නේ ද යන්න ය. ඇයගේ පුරුෂ වෘත්තීය සගයින් ඇයට ගරු කරන්නට හෝ ඇයගේ මග පෙන්වීම් පිළිගන්නට කැමැත්ත පළ කොට තිබුණේ නැත. අනෙකුත් කාන්තාවන් උසස්වීම් අහිමි ව ගොස්, සිය පුරුෂ වෘත්තීය සගයින්ට වඩා අඩු වේතන ලැබී, ලිංගික හිංසනයන්ට ද ලක්ව තිබිණ.
 

Sheshika Fernando addressing the gathering at an international conference
මම නිතරම ජාත්‍යන්තර තාක්ෂණික සමුළුවලදී මගේ සමාගම නියෝජනය කරන්නෙමි. සෑම විටම පාහේ ප්‍රේක්ෂාගාරය පිරී පවතින්නේ පුරුෂයින්ගෙනි. නමුත් මම මගේ කතාව ඉදිරිපත් කරන විට, එය ස්ත්‍රී කේන්ද්‍රීය වේදිකාවකි.

Do Sri Lankan women need to take the backseat?

Seshika Fernando's picture
Also available in: සිංහල | தமிழ்
Women in Sri Lanka routinely experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Some have been denied promotions, been paid less than their male peers, and sexually harassed at work
Women in Sri Lanka routinely experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Some have been denied promotions, been paid less than their male peers, and sexually harassed at work

We have a strict ‘no jerks’ policy at the company where I work. It means we just don’t have room for people who bully or mock their co-workers. Our employees don’t invade each other’s personal space or make uninvited personal contact. Women in Sri Lanka routinely experience sexual harassment in the workplace, but policies like this don’t favor just one gender. Men enjoy the benefits as well.
 
Unfortunately, my company’s policy is an exception rather than the rule. Recently, I had a chance to meet Sri Lankan women engineers and hear their experiences. One told me about how challenging going to the field was because her male subordinates refused to respect her or follow her directions. Other women have been denied promotions, paid less than their male peers and sexually harassed at work.
 

Sheshika Fernando addressing the gathering at an international conference
Seshika Fernando represents her company at a lot of international technology conferences. Almost always the audience is filled with men. But when she's delivering her talk, it’s a woman taking center stage.

Sometimes it’s more subtle than that. In every company I have ever worked for, women are in the minority. They may not have the same interests as their male colleagues or be able to socialize. Not everyone is comfortable conversing in the male lingo, just to fit in. When work is discussed in such social settings, women can very easily miss out. Each time something like this happens, it’s a loss for the company and for the country.

Voices of Youth: A Hope for One South Asia from Young Economists at Students' Meet

Nikita Singla's picture
Young economists from South Asia at South Asia Economics Students’ Meet (SAESM) 2018, Chittagong, Bangladesh
Young economists from South Asia at South Asia Economics Students’ Meet (SAESM) 2018, Chittagong, Bangladesh
Photo Credits: Nikita Singla/World Bank

At the 14th South Asia Economic Students’ Meet (SAESM), more than 100 top economics undergraduates and faculties from seven countries in South Asia convened in Chittagong, Bangladesh to discuss how greater regional integration in South Asia can help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As these young economists engaged in vigorous academic competitions and research presentations on South Asia’s development opportunities, they also created fond memories and built lifelong friendships. Was SAESM 2018 a new hope for #onesouthasia? Let’s hear it from the students themselves.

“With the momentum built up, the stage set, with a banner that in all its glory was decorated with the flags of the seven South Asian states, we sat in our respective country groups to embark on a three-day long journey that was to change my perception of South Asia forever. The dis-embarkment on this passage saw us divided by geographical boundaries, as India and Pakistan made sure to sit the farthest away from each other. The end to this voyage, however, painted a story not many foresaw – twenty Indians and Pakistanis crammed together in a single bus, discussing our common history with a fondness anew to most, accompanied by bursts of people from either side breaking into rounds of Antakshari. At that point, we were one!" – Alizeh Arif, Lahore School of Economics

Moving towards gender equality in Bhutan

Tenzin Lhaden's picture
Accompanying rapid economic development, Bhutan has greatly reduced gaps in gender equality.
Photo Caption: Sonam 'Sherlock' Phuntsho/World Bank

“…never did I imagine that I would live to see this day, when a woman would be serving at this level,” said my 86-year-old grandmother with her eyes beaming while watching the inauguration ceremony of the first female Minister of Bhutan.

Bhutan is a small country nestled in the eastern Himalayas between China and India, has managed to maintain its rich and unique cultural heritage in this modern-day age, partly due to its relative isolation during much of the last century. Bhutan is one of the smallest but fastest-growing economies in the world and a success story in poverty reduction.

Accompanying rapid economic development, Bhutan has greatly reduced gaps in gender equality. The net primary enrolment rate, that is the percentage of children attending school in 2016 was 98.8% for girls compared to 97% for boys. There has also been an increasing representation of girls at the higher secondary level although the lag continues at the university level.

Gender gaps in labor markets and job quality was identified as one of the main areas of gender gaps in the 2013 World Bank Gender Note Policy. Although tremendous progress has been made, - 58% of Bhutanese women working for pay or looking for jobs - the female labor force participation saw a slight decline compared to men in 2016. It remains one of the highest in the region[1].

رفاه در حوزه جنوب آسیا مستلزم سهم بیشتر زنان با پرداخت معاش کافی در نیروی کار

Annette Dixon's picture
Also available in: English

Women in the Work Force
جنوب آسیا شاهد رشد اقتصادی ٦ در صدی طی ٢٠ سال گذشته بوده، که این امر در نتیجه سبب کاهش فقر و بهبود در عرصه صحت و تعلیم و تربیه گردیده است. ما در حالیکه از این پیشرفتها در روز جهانی زن تجلیل می کنیم، بهتر میبود اگر زنان بیشتر با دریافت مزد کافی شامل نیروی کار میبودند. زنان در جنوب آسیا فقط ٢٨ درصد نیرو کار و یا انعده شان که در جستجوی کار هستند، را تشکیل میدهند. در مقایسه  با حوزه خاورمیانه و شمال آفریقا که در انجان ٢١ درصد نیرو کار را مردان تشکیل میدهند در حوزه جنوب اسیا مردان ٧٩ درصد نیرو کار هستند، که این دومین کمترین میزان در جهان است.
 
 نیروی بالقوه انکشاف  جنوب آسیا با بزرگترین جمعیت کار در حال رشد، در طبقه متوسط قرار دارد؛ اما کمبود زنان در مشاغل و مشارکت اقتصادی، منعکس دهنده فرصت های از دست رفته است. ده ها میلیون زن در هند و سریلانکا، در طول بیست سال گذشته از نیروی کار کنار رفته اند.
 
 از جمله بسیاری از عوامل باز دارنده، یکی هم بیسوادی است که تقریبا نیمی از زنان بالغ  در جنوب آسیا را دربر میگیرد که دخترانشان از بالاترین میزان سوء تغذی در جهان رنج می برند. میزان خشونت علیه زنان و مرگ و میر مادران در بالاترین میزان در جهان باقی مانده است. همه این عوامل مشارکت کم، بیکاری بیش از حد  و تفاوت های مزد مستمر برای زنان است، که در بازار کار را نشان می دهد.
 
 چه کاری می توانیم انجام دهیم تا به وجه احسن، زنان را تشویق کنیم تا در نیروی کار شرکت کنند؟ این کار، با شروع ارزش قایل شدن به ارزشهای دختران برابر فرزندان است - دسترسی آنها به غذاهای مغذی و سرمایه گذاری در آموزش و پرورش آنها برای دستیابی به توانایی هایشان فراهم می شود. بیایید علاقۀ دختران جوان را در موضوعاتی مثل علم و ریاضیات جلب کنیم و آنها را متقاعد سازیم که آنها به همان اندازه پسران توانایی دارند و میتوانند در مهندسی، تحقیقات علمی، فناوری اطلاعات و دیگر زمینه هایی که توسط کارفرمایان تقاضا می شود، شغل ایجاد کنند. ما همچنین باید توجه فرزندانمان را به احترام دختران و زنان افزایش دهیم و روشن کنیم که برای خشونت مبتنی بر جنسیت، هیچ مجال باقی نمانده است.

Redefining women's empowerment in Bangladesh

Sabah Moyeen's picture
 

What does empowerment really mean? The Northern Area Reduction Initiative (NARI) project has forced me to ask this question several times. And the answers are apparently not as neat and foldable into the pre-set indicators as one would think.
 
Bangladesh’s garment industry has been at the heart of the country’s export boom ever since the first factory opened in 1976. Today, the industry accounts for 80% of Bangladesh’s total exports. 85% of the workers in the garments sector are women. The NARI program aims to facilitate the entry of skilled women into this sector. However, this program is not just about technical skills aimed at churning out yet another RMG worker. The girls learn how to adjust to life outside their homes and villages, open and manage bank accounts, and learn about their rights and responsibilities as workers. They also negotiate contracts and rent, understand what sexual harassment is, and learn how and where to report it. They build networks, allow ideas to form on the basis of newly discovered confidence and self-esteem. Some graduate and join the earmarked jobs, often in positions several steps ahead of what they would have been offered without the training.

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