Last July, Robofun Founder, Lina Qasem was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Woman of the Future’ award in the category of Technology and Innovation. The award recognises inspiring young women who are striving to make a difference.
12 months on, Lina’s current working from home situation might seem a little less glamorous than this awards day spent in Sydney, however, Lina still feels the same passion and pride about representing what it means to be a ‘Woman of the Future’.
“Being selected as a woman of the future from thousands of Australian women in the Innovation and Technology category was a truly proud moment,” Lina shares.
Lina was acknowledged by distinguished female judges such as Julie Bishop – former Foreign Minister of Australia and Ita Buttrose – Chair of the ABC.
Lina feels this recognition “helps give my initiative more credibility and distinguishes us from others.”
“The experience was amazing, you feel special walking on the red carpet and meeting some of the awesome Australian influencers and leaders such as Lisa Wilkinson – presenter of The Project, journalist and editor and Naomi Simson – Entrepreneur, LinkedIn influencer and Shark on Shark Tank TV show.”
Lina shares her thoughts on the power of female role models in her field, the challenges many women face and her aspirations for women of the future in STEM:
What does it mean to be a ‘woman of the future’ in your field?
“Being a ‘woman of the future’ in STEM to me means that I’m challenging the norms in the industry. It means that I and others like me are responsible for creating a more diverse and balanced industry by leading by example and being a role model to other young girls.”
What challenges do you believe women in STEM face?
“Being a minority in STEM adds extra pressure on women simply because they “stand out”. Our mistakes are scrutinised more and our successes aren’t celebrated as much. The other challenge many working women face in general and in STEM specifically – since it’s a very fast-paced industry – is the responsibilities we have towards our families. Women are still considered the primary caregiver in a household which makes things that much harder to stay up to date.”
How can women in STEM fields make a difference?
“We can make a difference by being role models to the young generation of girls that are growing up questioning what they want to do in their life. This can be done by teaching, mentoring or volunteering in schools, organisations and community centres and sharing our knowledge.”
What do you hope the future of STEM looks like?
“I hope to see a more diverse and balanced STEM workforce which will have a positive impact on the industry as a whole. I hope the next super tech entrepreneur will be female and surpass the impact of people like Elon Musk or Bill Gates.”