The MBA student challenging gender stereotypes


MBA student, Tehreem Qureshi

When Tehreem Qureshi first encountered sexism as a young woman in Pakistan, she decided to set up a non-profit organisation that sought to change the lives of women in her country.

Whilst studying Electrical Engineering as an undergraduate in Pakistan, Tehreem encountered discrimination. It was this first-hand experience of sexism whilst at university that gave her the idea to set up a non-profit community initiative that would connect young aspirational women with leading female professionals to support their personal and professional development.

“In my university journey, I confronted first-hand experiences of sexism that extended not only to me but also to fellow female students. It became evident that our ideas weren’t accorded the same respect as those of our male peers. Even after graduation, job opportunities circulated mainly within the informal men’s network, leaving women without equal access. At that time, I was inexperienced and unsure how to assert myself, to voice my beliefs. But I had a vision. I channelled my anger and frustrations into setting up Femtor Pakistan” says Tehreem.

“My idea was to form a safe community, by women for women, that educated them on their rights both at home and in the workplace. I wanted to make a difference. And from there, this idea really took off. I started to personally mentor young students from my hometown and started having a direct, positive impact on their lives. Women told their friends and family about my organisation and the mentoring support they could access. As news spread, so did the types of people I helped. What started off as an idea to support women in my local community was now offering support to both genders from ethnic minorities.”

Some of the women (and men) that Tehreem has mentored have gone on to work for multinationals in Pakistan, successfully applied to master’s programmes in the UK, and have been awarded fully funded scholarships.

“Growing up with three sisters, I regularly saw the inequalities women were facing in our society. To then become a minority in engineering and having to fight for my own education and opportunities, I knew this was wrong. I didn’t let my gender define me. I even joined my university’s shooting team and went on to represent my university, winning medals. Not bad for a female who is only 5 feet 2 inches tall. To now be in a position where I am helping others is hugely cathartic.”

So, what does the future look like for Tehreem?

“I hope to take Femtor Pakistan to new heights and connect female world leaders with ambitious Pakistani women. The MBA program holds a world of promise, and I eagerly anticipate the diverse opportunities it will unveil for me.  Additionally, supporting my family in their cat-fostering endeavours is a cause close to my heart that I intend to continue.”

About Tehreem

Tehreem Qureshi is a full-time MBA student and is a recipient of the prestigious Forte MBA Fellowship. Originally from Pakistan, Tehreem joined St Edmund’s College, Cambridge in September 2023, having worked for multinationals such as Nestle and Unilever.

Tehreem will be one of our guest panellists at the International Women’s Day event on Friday 8 March 2024.

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