Aliya Jabbar is our Director of Professional Services. She is based in our London office and has been with us for nearly eight years. For Women’s History Month, we asked Aliya a few questions about her experiences as a woman in tech and how she supports the #ChooseToChallenge movement.
What does innovation mean to you and how do you exhibit it in your daily life?
Innovation for me has always meant challenging the status quo, learning and adapting. In the last year I’ve observed that innovation can encompass anything in our daily lives and not just at work, or through technology.
Doing something differently today than how you did it yesterday is innovating, and the key to success is that the first iteration isn’t going to be best or final. Allowing yourself room for errors, admitting when plans fail, and going back to the drawing board is the natural cycle of innovation.
Innovation to me means constantly reviewing, adapting and refining what you do, and this is what I try to practice and exhibit. Finally, how I define innovation may be different in a year’s time, and that is absolutely acceptable!
How do you plan to support IWD 2021 campaign theme: #ChooseToChallenge?
Often, women are biased against themselves in that we show humility when pride is called for, we pick on mistakes when success was achieved. I #ChooseToChallenge my friends and colleagues when we are self-doubting instead of self-applauding.
How do you #ChooseToChallenge the taboos related to the theme of women that you wish were broken?
A belief that is unconsciously prevalent is that ambitious women are “career-women”, and building a family, or the needs of their families come second. Of course this stems from the idea that women need to be the primary care-giver/home-maker. People are re-thinking this, but not at the pace that befits this changing world, and this is one belief I wish to challenge.
Women don’t need to “have it all” – we already have it all by owning our personal & working lives. The men therefore can “have it all” by taking a larger, more visible role in their home lives. (Of course, as with everything, this is a generalization, as the evolved man who shares responsibility equally, or even takes a lead on it does exist!).
Over the course of your career, how have you seen the workplace attitude towards women change?
I think the biggest change I’ve noted is that women are able to ask the hard questions without getting labelled as “difficult” or “bossy”.
However, through friends and with experience of working with individuals across the world, the attitude towards women varies vastly in regions & countries and there are still strides to be made. This, along with promoting women in leadership and management is something we can all encourage and embrace by adopting the IWD’s #ChooseToChallenge theme.