From my earliest days, the concepts of justice and equality were important to me. My parents saw my ambitions and were supportive of my professional goals. I eventually earned my medical degree.
But after I was married and had a son, my husband and in-laws weren’t happy when I went to work at a hospital. My husband became increasingly hostile. As I tried to teach my son that men and women were equals, I didn’t want him to grow up in a home where these values weren’t respected.
I took a job as a gynecologist and became a single working mom. But my challenges with harassment and abuse continued. I eventually needed to leave my country — this time without my son, who was then a teenager. I left Pakistan and was granted asylum in the U.S. in 2011.
I found myself alone in New York City. This was one of the hardest times of my life. I lost my home, my job, my family, and my country, but I didn’t lose my dignity.
I connected with Upwardly Global. They coached me through the job search in the U.S. — teaching me about U.S. work culture, helping me with my resume, and connecting me to training resources. I did practice interviews with my coach and attended networking events where I met other immigrant professionals. As I’d been forced to leave my family back in Pakistan, UpGlo became a new family for me. My coach helped me think through ways to channel my passion — fighting for justice and equity — into a new career path.
With support from Upwardly Global, I got a tech job in a local pharmacy. But I continued to witness the abuse and double standards that women face across the globe. One of my coworkers was fired after she complained that a male customer had touched her inappropriately. It was heartbreaking.