The Hub for Canadian Women in STEM



“Imposed Transformation”

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A computer scientist by training, Sameera worked as a software developer in her home country of Pakistan. Prior to moving to Canada, she lived in the Middle East for a few years, where she worked in the computer technology field, and volunteered for a women’s group. Her love of computer science stems from her passion for art and design. With limited growth opportunities in the Middle East, Sameera was looking forward to creating a new life in Canada.

By coming to Canada, Sameera felt that she had more career choices than in the Middle East. She did some research on her own to figure out what she wanted to do. The idea of being a computer scientist in Canada seemed intimidating at first. So she enrolled in art and design courses hoping it would satisfy her creative side. She spent a lot of effort networking within the community and establishing new contacts. She searched for work in graphic design but she did not feel she obtained the satisfaction she was seeking. She wasn’t sure what the obstacles were. Sameera wore a hijab at the time so she decided to run an experiment. On LinkedIn, she changed her profile and removed her hijab. The result was surprising: people started communicating more with her. This experiment was eye-opening and a turning point for Sameera. 

With this new change she decided to apply for positions in computer technology again with some success. However, removing her hijab was not an easy decision for Sameera. She felt that the decision to remove it was unfairly imposed on her, yet if she wants to have a professional career, she has little choice but to make this change. To boost her chances she enrolled in a course to become a certified business analyst, and landed a job in that field. Although it was a difficult soul-searching journey, Sameera realized that, through this transformation, she has learned a lot about herself, her strength and her resilience. 

Photography: Creative Commons