he for she
Tell us a bit about yourself...
I am an E-commerce and Digital Marketing professional with 15 years of experience in the UK and Pakistan. My educational background includes an MBA in International Business and a BA (Honours) in Marketing Management from the UK. I have a proven track record of driving sustainable growth, leading teams, and delivering profitable results. My career has been marked by senior management roles and pioneering digital initiatives at esteemed global companies such as Unilever, Tesco, and Groupon.
You have recently launched a fashion start-up with Tehniyat Salman. Tell us about it?
Tehniyat Salman and I, a two-person team, envisioned ‘Tehniyat Salman’ as a .com business, embracing the digital landscape from day one. Our brand’s mission is deeply rooted in empowerment, and we believe that fashion, when done with purpose, can be a powerful force for change. We have dedicated ourselves to redefining traditional beauty standards and celebrating the diverse journeys of Pakistani women who defy stereotypes. Through our trendy, comfortable, and bold designs, we empower women to embrace their individuality and celebrate every moment in their lives.
What were the teething problems you faced while setting up your project?
The business setup process in Pakistan presented unique challenges. It required navigating bureaucratic hurdles and regulatory complexities. The costs associated with setting up a website and advertising on digital platforms were exacerbated by pricing in dollars and a rapidly declining exchange rate. Not only that, access to domain experts and skilled labour was limited, with many professionals either moving abroad or focusing on international projects. This scarcity of expertise made it challenging to find the right talent for our venture. We initially faced difficulties in finding reliable vendors and suppliers who could meet deadlines and deliver quality products and services.
What are the top digital marketing and e-commerce tips for women who want to start their own business but have limited resources in Pakistan?
Focus on a niche market that aligns with your passion and addresses a gap; understand your target audience and their needs through thorough research; create a mobile-friendly website or store; use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for marketing; develop quality content to engage your audience; optimise your website for search engines; build and explore platforms like Daraz to expand your reach. Offer excellent service to build trust; allocate funds wisely for marketing and stay updated with the latest trends.
Do you agree that our women should be tech-savvy?
Absolutely. Technology empowers individuals and businesses alike, and women should have equal access to these tools and knowledge. Embracing technology can open doors to countless opportunities, from starting and scaling businesses to accessing education and resources. It’s not just about gender equality; it’s about ensuring that everyone has the skills and opportunities to thrive in the modern world. Furthermore, the ever-growing demand for women in tech, both locally and globally, underscores the significance of tech-savviness. Technology industries continue to expand, and diversity in these fields is essential for driving innovation and addressing unique challenges. Women have a pivotal role to play in shaping the future of technology, and by embracing tech skills, they can actively participate in this dynamic landscape.
What are your views on gender equality?
Gender equality is essential for building a fair and progressive society. It’s not just about equal opportunities but also ensuring equity, where individuals receive support tailored to their unique needs. For instance, in the business world, this means providing mentorship and resources to help women thrive in male-dominated industries. Similarly, in education, it involves creating inclusive environments that encourage girls to pursue STEM fields.
How can we stop gender inequality?
Gender inequality is a global issue that affects women across various countries, and addressing it requires a multifaceted approach. This includes promoting gender-sensitive education to reshape attitudes, advocating for and enforcing laws against gender-based violence and discrimination; supporting women’s economic empowerment through training and access to resources, encouraging responsible media portrayals and women’s participation in media. And challenging harmful practices through awareness campaigns and discussions, engaging men and boys as allies in advocating for women’s rights.
What do you have to say about women’s rights and women empowerment?
Women’s rights are not just a matter of social justice but a fundamental pillar of a fair and progressive society. Throughout history, we can find examples of societies where women were granted their rights and treated as equals, leading to significant advancements. For instance, in ancient Egypt, women like Hatshepsut served as pharaohs, and in the early Islamic period, notable women like Fatimah al-Fihri founded one of the world’s oldest universities in Morocco. Empowering women is long overdue, and it should indeed be an integral part of both the legal and education systems. Legal reforms must ensure equal rights, protection against discrimination, and access to opportunities. In education, promoting gender equality and teaching respect for women’s rights from an early age can reshape societal norms.
What challenges are women entrepreneurs facing in the male-dominated world?
Women entrepreneurs often face significant challenges in male-dominated business environments. These include limited representation in leadership roles; gender bias impacting funding and opportunities, pay gaps affecting investment potential. Facing bullying and harassment from their male counterparts is also a challenge for women entrepreneurs.
What advice would you give to young women who want to make their careers in tech?
For young women in Pakistan entering careers in Tech, practical guidance is crucial.
Explore top global programmes and platforms dedicated to women's technology skill development, including Girls Who Code, which offers coding and computer science programmes and AnitaB.org, which provides resources and networking opportunities. Women Who Code, also offer technical resources and mentorship. These platforms are valuable for skill enhancement and networking in the tech industry, helping you navigate your career path effectively.
What are the top platforms and resources for young women entrepreneurs in Pakistan?
She Loves Tech Pakistan: It is a global competition and platform that supports women-led tech start-ups. They hold an annual competition in Pakistan and provide opportunities for networking, mentorship, and funding.
WomenX Pakistan: A programme by the World Bank, WomenX offers training and support to women entrepreneurs in Pakistan. It focuses on providing business education and networking opportunities.
WECREATE Pakistan: It is a collaborative workspace and entrepreneurship centre for women. It offers resources, workshops, and networking events to empower women entrepreneurs.
Invest2Innovate (i2i): It is a programme that supports early-stage start-ups in Pakistan, including those led by women. They offer accelerator programmes and access to a network of mentors and investors.