Members of TEQtogether have built a strong and close relationship with COMSATS University, Islamabad, and the Inter-Islamic Network on IT. In January and February 2020, we worked with colleagues from these organisations, particularly Dr. Akber Gardezi, to undertake research on men’s attitudes to women and technology in Pakistan (see research summary). This was designed in part to explore the extent to which views about women and technology developed largely in Europe and North America were also applicable in the country. It was also intended to develop new Guidance Notes on key issues raised by both men and women in Pakistan that could help to change men’s attitudes to these issues. We are also particualrly grateful to Dr. M.K. Khatwani at the University of Sindh for facilitating our work there, as well as to all of the other people who helped us convene and partiucipated in such fascinating discussions.
As a result of our research together we identified two themes that those we had spoken with in the country believed were especially important, and not sufficiently captured in TEQtogether’s previous guidance notes: (1) what CEOs of small- and medium-sized enterprises can do to encourage more women to be employed in their companies, and (2) how brothers can help their sisters in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and who subsequently wish to work in the tech sector. These are summarised below:
Ten tips for CEOs of SMEs and startups who wish to benefit from employing more women
- Avoid gender bias in job advertisements and recruitment processes
- Use more images of women scientists and programmers on company websites
- Create systems to avoid gender bias in pay-scales, performance appraisals and promotion processes
- Encourage flexible working hours for all staff
- Provide technical infrastructure (especially Internet access and laptops) for staff to work from home
- Support initiatives to provide or share safe transport (such as shuttle services) between home and work
- Provide well-lit and welcoming entrances to office spaces
- Provide a comfortable working environment (including clean washrooms and appropriate disposal facilities for menstrual products) and let women contribute to decisions about how this is designed
- Create roles where some technical staff can work only during daylight office hours
- Encourage and support women to take on challenging projects and tasks.
Eight Tips for brothers who wish to support their sisters in STEM subjects and the tech sector
- Treat every woman or girl online as you would treat your sister – with respect
- Help your sister learn more about the safe use of digital technologies
- When she asks you to do something technical for her, help her instead to learn how to do it for herself
- Help your sister with domestic work at home so that she also has time to work in the tech sector if she wants to.
- Drive her to and from work if you are able to, or find her safe public transport
- Make sure that she has as good access as you do to the same digital technologies that you use.
- Support her in the life choices to which she aspires (including education and working before and after marriage)
- Don’t force her to marry someone who does not support her life goals
These guidance notes are both also available in various formats (including audio in Urdu) from the links below:
- Ten tips for CEOs of SMEs and startups who wish to benefit from employing more women (portrait in Urdu; audio Urdu; in English)
- Eight tips for brothers who wish to support their sisters in STEM subjects and the tech sector (portrait in Urdu; audio Urdu; in English).
We are particularly grateful to everyone who participated in our discussions, and to Akber Gardezi for preparing the material in Urdu.
In collaboration with:
These guidance notes are all freely available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License ; we would be grateful if you could indicate their source (https://teqtogether.org/) whenever you use them.
First version of this page by Tim Unwin and Akber Gardezi, 25th July 2020