Maria Umar: Women Powering Work Changemaker

Maria Umar: Women Powering Work Changemaker

Kristie Wang's picture

Maria Umar founded Women’s Digital League (WDL), a virtual firm and pilot project in Pakistan, to train hundreds of women with the tech skills they need to gain economic empowerment.

In Pakistan, women are often educated but discouraged from working, or too busy with family lives to have full-time careers. However, WDL is enabling women to tap into opportunities in the digital marketplace, even if they live in the most remote areas of the country.

Through WDL, women can access jobs and take courses in web design, e-marketing, graphic design, social media management, and SEO. They work from home or at IT centers in local villages.

By 2015 Umar expects to reach about 2,500 young women and men—because she says “men have been demanding to join the program since the Digital League started three years ago.”

Umar herself was forced to leave a teaching position after the birth of her second child, but she found a way to get back into action on the Web as a content and service provider who became a social entrepreneur. “That was the beginning of a new life for me,” Umar said. “There has been no looking back.”

Check out Umar’s project page on Changemakers and find out more about WDL’s model for impact and its latest news. WDL was recently named an early entry prize winner of Women Powering Work: Innovations for Economic Equality in the MENA Region, a competition launched by General Electric and Ashoka Changemakers.