Entrepreneurship

Meet Roya Mahboob, Afghanistan’s First Female Tech CEO

Despite death threats from the Taliban, Roya has been on a mission to teach digital literacy to young girls across the Middle East.

In a country where it’s rare for women to work outside the home, Roya Mahboob became one of Afghanistan’s first female tech CEOs. After death threats from the Taliban, Roya was forced to flee to the U.S., but it hasn’t stopped her on her mission to teach digital literacy to young girls across the Middle East.

As a girl growing up in Afghanistan, Roya Mahboob was offered few opportunities for a life outside the home. Her conservative society had limited options for women and actively discouraged dreaming bigger.

But Roya knew she wanted more. When she went to an internet cafe as a teenager and saw a world outside of her town, she realized technology could be her ticket to the life she dreamed of. Roya studied information and communication technology at college and started her own software company shortly after graduation.

Roya became one of the first female tech CEOs in the country. But not everyone was happy with her success. Roya and her female coworkers were stalked, harassed, and even received death threats from the Taliban.

Fearing for her safety, she fled to the U.S. She was able to provide for herself and gain an independence that few women in her native country possess. While she was in exile, she knew there were still millions of young girls around the world being left behind as the world moved forward.

With that in mind, Roya started a nonprofit called the Digital Citizen Fund to give women access to technology and teach them how to use it. Technology opens up a world where women can realize financial independence – a vision for a better life and the tools to build that life for themselves.

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