In recent years, Pakistani Women have done the impossible. They have conquered mountains (Samina Baig), travelling alone on the motorcycle (Zenith Irfan), and whatnot. As said, ‘when there is a will, there is a way’. Tasneem Zehra Husain, Pakistan’s first string theorist has shown the world that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE. Kyun Kay Sitaaroon sei Agay Jahan Aur Bhi Hain. We are truly proud of her.
Pakistani Women have marked their presence in every field. They have conquered the skies now. Nothing can stop them. The only disheartening thing is that most of the women in this field have to leave Pakistan to pursue their scientific careers.
Tasneem Zehra Husain studied mathematics and physics at Kinnaird College. She did her Master’s in Physics from Quaid-i-Azam University. Husain did her doctorate in theoretical physics from Stockholm University Sweden. She won a scholarship to further study the field of high-energy physics.
Usually, in Pakistan, there are some defined subjects and careers that one can pursue. Diving and exploring new fields are not welcomed or supported even by educational institutions. As everyone wants career stability, they usually do not pursue it in their life ending up in the circle of the system that has been there in society for ages. Tasneem quoted, “as I had no inspiration to look up to and in schools and even college, teachers especially made science subjects very dry.”
The teachers should also be mindful of the latest teaching trends and how to keep the students engaged and spark their interest. She said, “If the teachers aren’t aware of the latest ways of teaching and they don’t have command over their subject, they can’t tell the students what the practical implications of that subject are.”
The problem is not only at the school or college level but it extends to the higher educational institutions as well. Tasneem has been a founder of the LUMS School of Science and Engineering. She said, “When I was doing my post-doctorate, I helped the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in establishing a School of Science and Engineering. But the biggest dilemma in our country is that all of our bright students have to go outside of the country to pursue a stable career.”
It is thought that a person who is a scientist or belongs to the scientific field might not love or be interested in other things. Tasneem, however, has defied this, she has a love for literature. She managed to write her first novel, Only the Longest Threads amidst the commitment ‘to diving into the string theory to explain all of the physics at a fundamental level in an ambitious theory of everything.’ It is about ‘the defining moments in which new scientific theories affect the understanding of the universe’, and she is now working on the development of the theory.
Tasneem said that women can accomplish in the field of science yet the education system should be flexible and capable enough to know the women’s capabilities. Which usually results in women abandoning their careers. “If she isn’t available for work for a certain period, it doesn’t mean she is lacking the capacity to work. A flexible system and proper policymaking are required.”
If the students are encouraged, they will perform better and go for excellence in their fields. Our institutions lack counseling and guidance to the students, especially female students. She said, “If students, especially girls, get proper guidance and counseling, the sky is the limit for them and they can do wonders. It’s high time that we start telling our girls that every field is open for them.”
It is high time that we should focus on guiding and counseling our students so that they do not end up at a dead end. Rather than that, they can spread their wings and explore the skies like Tasneem Zehra Husain, who has made us proud.