We Asked, She Answered: Women’s History Month Series
Ambreen Hafeez: Interface Tester, DHMSM
What does Women’s History Month mean to you as an American Muslim?
The holy month of Ramadan begins on April 2nd for Muslims, and I will be fasting from sunrise to sunset while working full time. As a working mother, it is very challenging to take care of my family, home, work responsibilities and fast but I will be able to handle it because Ramadan has taught me self-restraint over the years. Ramadan teaches you about self-discipline, reflection and humanity. It is a wonderful opportunity to connect to our communities, family and friends because there is an emphasis on giving.
Most people think that Muslim women are not allowed to work outside the home, but this is not true. It would be helpful to see more diverse representation of trailblazing women for Women’s History Month that reflects the varied cultural fabric of the US and help dispel some of these ideas.
Tell us how your experiences have shaped your career path?
I came to the US in 2007 from Pakistan with a Master’s in Mathematics. I was looking to launch my career while raising my children, so I took training courses in automated testing and quality assurance. I began my career as a quality assurance analyst and then joined Nolij in 2019. Soon after I joined, the pandemic happened and I started working from home. It was challenging at first to work from home because I had to balance helping my children with online school, lunch and snacks, and my own work. But I really love working from home now because I have work-life balance.
As a hijab wearing Muslim, working at Nolij has been a wonderful experience. In my previous positions, I faced discrimination but at Nolij the whole management team and my colleagues have been so respectful and embracing.
What advice would you give to young women starting their professional journeys?
I would advise young women to be dedicated, keep moving forward and not to give until they have reached their goal. For Muslim women who wear hijab, I would advise that they not be deterred from joining the workforce. It can be tough at times, but there are plenty of good people and good companies out there that are open-minded.
What do you like to do for fun and what do you see yourself doing in the future?
I like to participate in outdoor activities for fun like playing badminton and cycling with my family.