Interview: Dr. Sameera Arshad – A Wildlife Biologist

Sameera Arshad is a wildlife Biologist; she had a long teaching career before starting her Ph.D. During her Ph.D., she had done her research work in UK and Australia under Commonwealth Scholarship. She represented Pakistan at the International Bird Strike Conference in Australia, presenting her experiences managing bird strikes in her home country and actively engaging with the international research community.

As she completes her Ph.D., Sameera continues to contribute to aviation safety, providing consultancy services to the Pakistan Air Force Safety Management Centre, and aiding in managing the increasing threat of bird strikes. Her work on bird strike causes has been utilized by the Pakistan Ministry of Defence, integrated into the Bird Hazard Management Plan, and she also supports the Civil Aviation Authority and Directorate of Flight Safety through seminars on ‘Bird Hazard Management at Airports’ to enhance passenger safety and reduce bird-plane collisions.

“I have been fortunate enough to have family support, parental guidance, motivation, and excellent teachers and mentors throughout my academic career. All these contributory factors added to my achievements.” When I asked about her academic journey.

Answering the role of male family members in girls’ education, she responded, “Male members of the family play a vital role in women’s progress and development.  My father was quite progressive he always wanted us to achieve excellence and so is my husband, both of them had a great vision for my progress and they always supported me.”

“To better support and empower girls in Pakistan, the education system needs several improvements. One key aspect is developing an inclusive curriculum that promotes gender equality and provides diverse perspectives on gender roles. Additionally, improving the quality of education in schools is essential to ensure that girls have access to the same educational resources and opportunities as boys. Specialized teacher training should be provided to address the unique challenges faced by girls and create an inclusive learning environment.”

She added further, “Safe learning spaces must be established to encourage girls’ attendance, particularly in rural and remote areas. Awareness campaigns should be conducted to raise awareness among parents, communities, and religious leaders about the importance of girls’ education. Moreover, technology integration can play a significant role in improving access to education, especially in areas with limited resources.”

Responding to the question, what steps can be taken to ensure that girls who receive an education are able to translate their knowledge and skills into meaningful employment opportunities?, she said

“Ensuring that girls who receive an education can translate their knowledge and skills into meaningful employment opportunities requires concerted efforts from various stakeholders. Firstly, offering vocational training programs can equip girls with practical skills that align with the job market’s demands, making them more employable. Career counseling and mentorship support are crucial in guiding girls in choosing suitable career paths and navigating the job search process effectively. Networking platforms can be created to help girls connect with potential employers and industry professionals, expanding their job prospects. Internship and apprenticeship programs can provide girls with real-world experience and enhance their employability.”

“Promoting workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives can create a more welcoming environment for women employees, encouraging their participation in the workforce. Additionally, supporting aspiring female entrepreneurs by providing resources and assistance can encourage girls to pursue entrepreneurship and create their own businesses. Finally, ensuring equal pay and opportunities regardless of gender is essential in promoting fair and equitable employment practices, providing girls with the confidence and motivation to pursue meaningful careers. By taking these steps, girls can have better access to opportunities that enable them to use their education and skills effectively in the job market.”

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