Pakistani Woman Engineer Honored With America's Grace Hopper Award

Dr. Durdana Habib, senior faculty member at the School of Electrical Engineering, National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Islamabad, Pakistan is the recipient of the prestigious Grace Hopper ABIE Award for 2014 from Anita Borg Institute in the United States.

The award is named after Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992) who was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. She was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, and developed the first ever compiler for a computer programming language.

press release by the Institute says that Dr. Habib has "motivated female engineering students to take up engineering careers". It adds: "She participated as an active volunteer in Women in Technology, a Task Force of the Technology Resource Mobilization unit under the Ministry of Science & Technology, Pakistan. She has involved female faculty as well as professionals across public and private sector through the Women's Forum, Interactive talks and WIE sessions at IEEE student Congresses. She is a mentor of the Pakistan Women's Forum (PWF) and is currently the Chair of the WIE Affinity Group, IEEE, Islamabad Section."

Dr. Habib has worked at Communications Enabling Technologies where she led software development on System-On-Chip (SOCs) designs, according to the press release. Her team of many motivated female engineers developed one of world’s highest density media processor SOC designs and filed several US patents.

There were very few women in engineering when I attended NED Engineering College in 1970s.  Dr. Habib and her fellow women engineers have since served as role models to encourage girls to study engineering in Pakistan. The result is that a third of all students at NED University of Engineering and Technology are now female, according to a report by Inam Khwaja published in Karachi's Business Recorder newspaper.

As of 2012, the ratio of female-to-male enrollment in tertiary education in Pakistan is 95%, according to the World Bank. About 22% of adult women in Pakistan now work, up from 14% a decade ago. Women make up 4.6% of board members of Pakistani companies, a tad lower than the 4.7% average in emerging Asia, but higher than 1% in South Korea, 4.1% in India and Indonesia, and 4.2% in Malaysia, according to a February 2011 report on women in the boardrooms.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Working Women Seeding Silent Revolution in Pakistan

Malala Inspires Surge in Girls School Enrollment

Status of Women in Pakistan

Microfinancing in Pakistan

Gender Gap Worst in South Asia

Status of Women in India

Female Literacy Lags in South Asia

Land For Landless Women

Are Women Better Off in Pakistan Today?

A Woman Speaker: Another Token or Real Change

A Tale of Tribal Terror

Burka Avenger


Out-of-School Children in Pakistan


Malala Moment

Views: 359

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 6, 2014 at 10:11am

Shama Zehra is founder and CEO of newly-launched Aligned Independent Advisors, a boutique independent advisory firm on Wall Street. It’s still a male-dominated area of finance, just 13% of brokers and advisors are female but Zehra’s unlikely to be unfazed. As a glance at her career path proves – engineer, business-owner, pilot and banker –resisting convention comes pretty naturally.

As a teenager Shama Zehra started her first business, a clothing company with her mom and her sister from a rack in the corner of their apartment in Pakistan. Over time the trio outgrew the apartment and opened a small factory with six staff. This led to a flagship store, sales to the Pakistani equivalents of Macy’s and pop- up stores at five star hotels, which brought about lucrative exports.

Still, attitudes to women-owned businesses dragged out simple transactions, says Zehra. “Pakistan is a very male-dominated society so over there a man rules, so that was one of the biggest challenges,” she says. Even more difficult was negotiating constant security risks like thefts and curfews as well as electricity blackouts which meant the machines couldn’t run.

The trio sold Zehra’s, and after a stint as a pilot, Zehra got into finance. She built the number one wealth management business at Standard Chartered Bank in Pakistan before emigrating to the U.S to become one of the largest producers at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley MS +1.24%.

“Once you have your own business you really understand how to treat every job. I’ve always treated every job that I’ve had like my own company or my own business and that really does change the dynamic…as an entrepreneur you’ve got to do everything to make it work.”

With her latest venture, Aligned Independent Advisors, Zehra says she’s building a firm that’s totally independent but has a human touch, something she thinks has been lacking.

“It’s easy to find smart people in finance but it’s difficult to find good hearted, helpful and sincere people,” she says.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/hollieslade/2014/08/05/from-a-clothing-...

http://onforb.es/1s84hBt

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 25, 2014 at 5:10pm

On women engineers of Pakistan introducing girls to technical education

http://www.core77.com/blog/articles/women_engineers_pakistan_introd...

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 13, 2016 at 12:11am

Nergis Mavalvala: #Pakistani #American #MIT prof from #Karachi, only woman in #LIGO that detects #gravitationalwaves http://www.dawn.com/news/1239270 

Mavalvala did her BA at Wellesley College in Physics and Astronomy in 1990 and a Ph.D in physics in 1997 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Before that, she was a postdoctoral associate and then a research scientist at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), working on the Laser Interferometric Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO).

She has been involved with LIGO since her early years in graduate school at MIT and her primary research has been in instrument development for interferometric gravitational-wave detectors.

She also received the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Award in 2010.

Mavalvala received her early education from the Convent of Jesus and Mary school in Karachi, an administration official from the educational institute confirmed to Dawn.com.

She later moved to the United States as a teenager to attend Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where she is said to have a natural gift for being comfortable in her own skin, according to an article published on the sciencemag.org website.

“Even when Nergis was a freshman, she struck me as fearless, with a refreshing can-do attitude,” says Robert Berg, a professor of physics at Wellesley.

"I used to borrow tools and parts from the bike-repair man across the street to fix my bike,” Mavalvala says.
In an earlier report, Mavalvala's colleague observed that while many professors would like to treat students as colleagues, most students don’t respond as equals. From the first day, Mavalvala acted and worked like an equal. She helped Berg, who at the time was new to the faculty, set up a laser and transform an empty room into a lab. Before she graduated in 1990, Berg and Mavalvala had co-authored a paper in Physical Review B: Condensed Matter.

Her parents encouraged academic excellence. She was by temperament very hands-on. “I used to borrow tools and parts from the bike-repair man across the street to fix my bike,” she says. Her mother objected to the grease stains, “but my parents never said such skills were off-limits to me or my sister.”

So she grew up without stereotypical gender roles. Once in the United States, she did not feel bound by US social norms, she recalls.

Her practical skills stood her in good stead in 1991, when she was scouting for a research group to join after her first year as a graduate student at MIT. Her adviser was moving to Chicago and Mavalvala had decided not to follow him, so she needed a new adviser. She met Rainer Weiss, who worked down the hallway.

“What do you know?” Weiss asked her. She began to list the classes she had taken at the institute—but the renowned experimentalist interrupted with, “What do you know how to do?” Mavalvala ticked off her practical skills and accomplishments: machining, electronic circuitry, building a laser. Weiss took her on right away.

Mavalvala says that although it may not be immediately apparent, she is a product of good mentoring.

From the chemistry teacher in Pakistan who let her play with reagents in the lab after school to the head of the physics department at MIT, who supported her work when she joined the faculty in 2002, she has encountered several encouraging people on her journey.


Although the discovery of gravitational waves, that opens a new window for studying the cosmos, was made in September 2015, it took scientists months to confirm their data.

The researchers said they detected gravitational waves coming from two black holes - extraordinarily dense objects whose existence also was foreseen by Einstein - that orbited one another, spiraled inward and smashed together. They said the waves were the product of a collision between two black holes 30 times as massive as the Sun, located 1.3 billion light years from Earth.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 13, 2016 at 12:19am
Nergis Mavalvala: #Pakistani #American #MIT prof from #Karachi, only woman in #LIGO that detects #gravitationalwaves http://www.dawn.com/news/1239270

Comment

You need to be a member of PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network to add comments!

Join PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

Pre-Paid Legal


Twitter Feed

    follow me on Twitter

    Sponsored Links

    South Asia Investor Review
    Investor Information Blog

    Haq's Musings
    Riaz Haq's Current Affairs Blog

    Please Bookmark This Page!




    Blog Posts

    Pakistan Digital Gig Economy Surged 69% Amid COVID19 Pandemic

    Pakistan's digital gig economy has surged 69% during the COVID19 pandemic, putting the country among the world's top 4 hottest online freelancer markets, reports  Payoneer, a global payments platform company based in Silicon Valley, in its latest report. Payoneer attributes it to government…

    Continue

    Posted by Riaz Haq on September 28, 2020 at 5:00pm

    Middle, primary classes resume in Sindh from today

    Sindh News

    Middle and primary classes in Sindh resumed from today (Monday) after nearly six months closure due to coronavirus pandemic.

    According to details, all public and private schools have reopened for grade…

    Continue

    Posted by Sobia Anjum on September 27, 2020 at 11:02pm

    © 2020   Created by Riaz Haq.   Powered by

    Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service