Pursuing a Degree in Law was an important milestone in my life as I embarked on a path with the intention of becoming a lawyer. However, upon graduating, and entering the professional world, I soon discovered that my true calling lies beyond the legal field.
During that transformative phase, I embraced my adventurous spirit and a strong inclination to break away from conventional norms. It was during this time that I stumbled upon job opportunities through local newspaper advertisements. Little did I know that this “accidental destiny” would lead me to immerse myself in the fascinating world of technology.
I landed a job at a local government agency that specialised in satellite technology. It was an incredible opportunity to work in a tech company, especially one involved in launching satellites. Within just two months, I found myself flying to America with my bosses to attend important meetings. I was only 24 years old at the time, and this extraordinary experience inspired and encouraged me to explore further.
And here comes the cherry on top! During the early days of my career, I had the incredible chance to meet the legendary Elon Musk himself, at SpaceX. He was an enigma, brief, and direct in his interactions and it was fascinating to witness his keen listening and analytical mind at work.
Despite not having a background in science, I was able to pursue my interest in technology thanks to the internet and my thirst for knowledge. I did a lot of research and self-learning from books, e-books, and podcasts, which boosted my confidence and equipped me to pursue a STEM-related career.
In the dynamic realm of technology, where men have historically dominated, I see tremendous potential for personal and professional growth. I hold a strong belief in the intrinsic value of gender diversity and am dedicated to empowering women in the tech industry. Through their empowerment, we can catalyse remarkable socio-economic advancements and foster innovations that are inclusive and far-reaching.
Malaysia, a shining example, stands among the few nations that have achieved equal representation of women in STI throughout the education system.
Contrary to previous survey that suggested lower interest among Malaysia girls in pursuing science or engineering, recent reports paint a much more encouraguing picture. The World Bank’s 2021 report highlights nearly 50% of engineers and researchers in Malaysia are now women.
Furthermore, girls in STEM fields, from primary schools to universities, have excelled both academically and in extracurricular activities. These statistics demonstrate the abundant female talent pool in STI that we can tap into.
At MRANTI, we take immense pride in our commitment to gender equality and representation. In our Senior Leadership Team, we have achieved a ratio of 1:1 in terms of women’s representation. This exemplifies our dedication to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment where everyone’s voices are heard and valued.
The journey towards gender equality and inclusivity is ongoing, both globally and in Malaysia. While progress has been made, there is still work to be done. We must continue to encourage women to pursue careers in science and technology by providing mentorship, building skills, networking, and promoting confidence. It’s vital to recognise the unique perspectives and contributions that women can bring to research, scientific conversations, and technological advancements.
In Malaysia, we have implemented various policies to support the growth and empowerment of women. However, we must acknowledge and address the subtle prejudices and gender participation gaps that still exist.
To all the women out there who are interested in science and technology, I encourage you to follow your interests and passions. Seek out mentors, build your skills, network, stay informed, be persistent, and most importantly, believe in yourself and your abilities. The field of science and technology offers countless opportunities for growth, innovation and making a positive impact on society. Together, let’s create a future where gender equality is the norm and where women’s voices and contributions are celebrated and valued.
Dzuleira Abu Bakar
CEO, Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology & Innovation (MRANTI)
Dzuleria Abu Bakar is a seasoned personlaity in technology and venture capital. She is the CEO of the Malaysian Reserach Accelerator for Technology & Innovation (MRANTI), the national research commercialisation agency through the convergence of Technology Park Malaysia and Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC).
She is focused to fast track innovations to market, taking ideas to impact through the commercialisation of homegrown technology, in our push to make Malaysia a high-tech, high-income nation.
Dzuleira is an influential voice in Malaysia’s innovation, start-up and entrepreneurship ecosytem. She is on the UTM Board of Directors. She was also the CEO of Cradle Seed Ventures, a growth stage venture capital fund, and a Council Member of the national ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM).
She has also served in various roles across government agencies, GLCs as well as the private sector such as Usaha Tegas, Malaysian Venture Capital Management Berhad, Khazanah Nasional; and has held multiple roles in technology & innovation, venture capital & private equity, corporate finance, legal & governance, deal structuring and stakeholder management.