Women of the Immigration Ban Speak Out

Since the “Immigration Ban” Executive Order took effect early last year, there has been an onslaught of news stories, articles, and podcasts that paint a really defensive “western” picture of people who live in the countries affected by the ban and what they have to offer our country.

Sure, conversations about immigration reform and national security are really important. And sure, there are serious threats that we face as a country that force us to implement policies that protect us. But talking about what we stand to gain through these “protective” measures only tells half the story — we also need to stop and consider what we risk losing by limiting people’s access to the United States.

Unfortunately, media coverage has done little to balance those scales. Stereotypes generalizing the experiences of residents living in “banned” countries often go unchecked and end up misshaping the way we view people around the world. In the spirit of our mission to “break stereotypes one story at a time”, Wogrammer challenges these misconceptions by elevating the real voices of women engineers who live and work in the countries affected by the ban.

Each woman we’ve highlighted here has transcended difficult circumstances and discovered ways to learn, to create, and to give back to their communities. We hope that by sharing their stories, we put the power of defining back where it belongs: in the voices of the women themselves.


Laleh Sadeghian ● Iran ● Data Scientist, PhD in Astrophysics
“It’s important to remember that you have the power to build your own personality and your own life.”

Shereen Messi ● Syria (now in Iraq) ● Software Engineer, Trainer for Re:Coded
My goal was to encourage people to use software and see how engaging technology in our daily life will help to develop our community.

Rasha Osman ● Sudan ● Software Performance Engineer, Associate Professor at the University of Khartoum
“I have been guided by and learned from exceptional people and I hope I am able to pass on this knowledge and experience to others.“

Dr. Eqbal ● Yemen ● PhD in Biochemistry
“When I want to do something even difficult I just put in my mind and just do it.”

Goory AL Hamed ● Syria (now in Iraq) ● Computer Engineer
I overcome challenges by working hard and not losing the hope. I faced a lot of challenges in my life, but I always believe work hard and love what you do to get good results.”

Sara Hasanpour ● Iran ● Biomedical Engineering Student, Islamic Izad University
“There are many successful Iranian ladies working as engineers and scientists in Iran and other countries. They are hardworking and kind and all have amazing stories. By all of my heart I wish for a future full of love, peace and equality for all the people in the world!”

Political and legislative policies like the immigration ban could have far-reaching effects on the tech industry — it’s essential that we speak up and speak out.

So let’s get talking! If you have stories of women engineers from countries potentially affected by the increased restrictions on immigration to the US or feedback on how this legislation directly affects your engineering plans, reach out to us at hello@wogrammer.org. We’d also like to hear from or about people living in the countries impacted by the ban that aren’t represented in this community yet: Venezuela, North Korea, Libya and Somalia.


Written by: L Burleson, Wogrammer contributor. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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