Faiza Yousuf: Engineering Momentum in the Pakistani Tech Scene

Dismantling the tech sector patriarchy one “manel” at a time

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Faiza Yousuf ● Consultant and Founder of WomenInTechPK

Faiza Yousuf is the Chief Consultant at OuttaBox and founder of WomenInTechPK. She lives and works in her hometown of Karachi, Pakistan, consulting with local and global clients including Genetech Solutions — an international software development company — and TxLabz, Pakistan-based IT services company.

She has loved computers since grade school. In fact, it was conversations with her mother that first inspired Faiza to explore engineering. Her mother always wanted to be an engineer, but never got the chance as she started a family early in her life. After receiving a computer as a gift from her father, she immersed herself in video games like Mortal Kombat, Need For Speed, and Tekken. When she started craving better graphics and higher speeds, she discovered her interest in computers extended to hardware.

She knew there was nothing she would rather do for the rest of her life than work with computers.

Faiza pursued a Software Engineering degree at the NED University of Engineering and Technology in Karachi and has been working non-stop since as a part-time researcher and writer with the engineering department.

She may be rooted in Pakistan, but Faiza’s influence extends all the way to helping STEM education efforts in Europe. While working with another scientist researching interactive applications and early child education, she developed a board game and a native iOS application that teaches complicated concepts such as Augmented Reality and Virtuality Reality. She tested several models before finally seeing her creations implemented in a local school district in Europe. She really enjoys using her extensive technical background to work on projects that have the potential to impact many young and curious minds around the world.

With a great passion for tech and an array of global accomplishments, Faiza believes one of the best pieces of advice she can share is to never give up and make sure to finish the things you start. “Don’t get scared of failing, square one is a happening place. You can get up and try again until you become excellent at it!”

“Pakistan is now catching up with the rest of the world, and the lack of women in STEM careers is now becoming an ongoing dialogue. We started WomenInTechPK in September 2016 and since then we are seeing that the movement is gaining massive momentum. We need to highlight and strategize to fix the lack of diversity in technology along with the regressive policies and mindsets which affect women’s career opportunities and performance in the workplace. We highlight and report on manels (men only panels), recommend women as speakers and leaders, help women get back to the workforce, and organize effective networking events for our members.”

“I think it is really important for all us to be able to learn from each other, to listen with empathy and to offer rational and inclusive solutions for the betterment of this thriving industry.”

Written by: Regine De Guzman, wogrammer Journalism Fellow. Learn more about her on LinkedIn.

This story was told in collaboration with Pakistani Women in Computing.