Recognized on the Time Magazine 100 Most Influential list in 2013, Roya Mahboob has done a great deal to teach Afghan women and girls how to run a successful business and achieve financial independence. She is the founder of Afghanistan Citadel Software Company, where more than 50 percent of employees are women. Additionally, she cofounded Women’s Annex Foundation, which has brought Internet access to more than 55,000 students in Afghanistan and significantly boosted digital literacy in the country. So far, this organization has established 11 computer media labs in Kabul and Herat, plus two additional standalone labs.
Ms. Mahboob has succeeded where many other philanthropists have failed. By establishing a blogging and film platform, she gives women a voice and an opportunity to connect with other people around the world. The women who create content for this platform receive compensation that helps them secure a new future. On the cutting edge of technology, she implemented a bitcoin-based payment system that guarantees pay to women without traditional bank accounts. Her work has also done a great deal to change male perspectives in Afghanistan. Many men who have not supported female employment have begun to reconsider their position now that their daughters and wives are bringing home a stable paycheck.