November 19, 2021
Dina Al Mahdy
On social media platforms, we are bombarded with news about men who mistreat women, deny them their rights, and stand in the way of their and success. Yet, the good news is there are still inspirational men who support women and encourage them in all walks of their lives.
Fortunately, more people are realizing that being a feminist has nothing to do with hating men, and everything to do with gender equality.
Unwavering in our determination to right these wrongs and based on our belief in gender equality, WoEgypt is leading a social movement and campaign titled “Champions for Change”, through which we seek to change the negative stereotypical image of men and to applaud the most inspirational men in our lives.
In celebration of Men International Day, on November 19, WoEgypt also celebrated men who have championed the women in their lives; on personal or professional levels.
Put your hands together and cerebrate with us these Champions for Change:
Carlos Gonzalez: A Leader Who Supports Women in the Workplace
For women to succeed, this usually involves a supportive ecosystem, including men who pave the way, encourage and inspire change. Carlos Gonzalez, President of CEMEX Egypt & UAE, is one of a few men in the cement industry in Egypt that carried the torch and lead a movement to give women in the industry more space to grow and shine.
For the first time in Assiut Cement Company – a CEMEX company – a female board member is appointed, and two women were invited to join the management team, leading very strategic functions that affects the profitability and continuity of the company. Carlos also set a clear direction to increase the number of female hires and promote diversity in functions once limited to men, like cement sales or occupational health and safety.
Fostering women and understanding the multiple roles imposed by society on women in their various ages, Carlos facilitated the introduction of flexible work plans in support of gender diversity.
Carlos continues to advocate for the value of the ideas and perspective his female colleagues bring to the table and encourages other leaders to follow his way.
Reem Kassem, Eddie Hasweh & Adnan Joubi; Co-founders of Basita.Live
“Never underestimate the power of a conversation with a good man!” — Reem Kassem“
I called Eddie at the beginning of the Pandemic sharing thoughts on the potential impact COVID might have on the cultural sector. We exchanged ideas on how the sector must develop tools to be resilient and self-sustained financially and we envisioned a virtual theatre.
Eddie then introduced the idea to Adnan; his childhood friend, and the power triangle was formed. Since that day, we have been working around the clock to create basita.live until it became what it is now in less than a year.Eddie and Adnan are both very supportive and empowering.
We care about the work, but we care about each other more. In my previous work experiences, I encountered challenges working with male colleagues. This time, I have, for the first time in my life, enjoyed the comfort of feeling safe, empowered, supported, trusted, and loved, which makes me lead knowing I have a strong back.
Our partnership is the perfect example of how we, women and men, complement each other not compete with each other.Basita.live is a virtual venue; a platform for performing and visual artists, filmmakers, animators, and institutions to live stream, share content, conduct live or pre-recorded sessions, while being able to charge their audiences a fee as an additional revenue stream. To know more about Reem, Eddie and Adnan, read their bios in English and Arabic on basita.Live
Randa & Serag, Partners in Life & Business: Dayra Camp
Randa and Serag always knew that they wanted to leave the big city, but they didn’t want to live abroad. Instead, they followed their mutual passion for travel and exploration and decided to take a risk in 2015 by starting a new life in Nuweiba, South Sinai, where they established Dayra Camp.
Dayra Camp is a safe space where their community can escape the hectic city life and enjoy being immersed in nature with a mixed view between the sea and the mountains of Sinai with likeminded people who share the same interests.
Randa and Serag’s vision was to create an eco-friendly, sustainable hub that helps people connect, share good moments, learn new skills, and explore themselves on a deeper level.
Dayra Camp is the first artistic and cultural hub in Nuweiba that organizes mind, body, and soul workshops and art activities, hosts live music performances, and raises awareness of environmental preservation by organizing beach and sea cleanup campaigns.
After seven years of hard work, they decided to expand their passion and create a new home in Ain Al Sokhna (Dayra Camp 2), which will be launched next month, to bring the charm of Dayra Camp even closer to Cairo.
Randa and Serag met in 2009 on a photography walk in Cairo and got married a year later. Traveling is their shared passion, which later became the reason behind their lifestyle change. The first time the couple visited Nuweiba, they instantly fell in love with the scenery and felt like they were finally home.Working together as a couple is not an easy job; it is an ongoing effort that requires patience, perseverance, and commitment, which Randa and Serag always keep in mind throughout their journey with Dayra Camp.
Serag is an engineer who worked in many international companies across Egypt. He decided to leave the corporate life at P&G and focus all his energy on developing Dayra Camp and using his engineering expertise to launch innovative projects in a new home in the heart of the desert.
Randa studied tourism in the faculty of arts and is currently working in the media as line producer and assistant documentary director. Before moving to Nuweiba, she worked at the CBC channel.
Nowadays Randa and a friend of her are launching a new Handmade leather project in Nuweiba that will engage some of Nuweiba natives as part of a community service for the community they live with.
Visit Dayra Camp Website here
Boustan and Magdy, Life & Business Partners
Boustan Magdy and her husband Ahmed Hafez, member of Massar Egbary music band, pursue their music project “Boustan” — This is her story
My name is Boustan. I grew up in a family that appreciated art. I loved art since I was a little girl, especially playing music and singing. That was the first thing that connected me with my husband when we first met in 1998. We were both members of the Atelier choir in Alexandria.
Since the time were engaged and during our married years, Ahmed composed several songs for me, songs for movies and children theater. But life happened in between, and we couldn’t sing on a larger scale. I worked as a teacher for 16 years, along with my craft project, B Crafts. Ahmed also worked in pottery and then he worked at the library of Alexandria, along with his work with the band.
In 2020, with the encouragement of our families and friends, we made a conscious decision to focus on our musical career
Menna & Max, Partners in Life and Business | Co-Founders of Tekkya App to Fight Hunger
“Marriage for us is a partnership. We share all responsibilities.” – Menna Shahin
Max is my backbone, best friend and my biggest fan. It was love at first sight, which is something I never believed in. We met in Dubai. We worked in the same company but not in the same division or even markets. I am very independent person with a strong character. He taught me that being strong and depending on others are not mutually exclusive. He became a big part of my life and now I depend on him a lot. He’s very kind, tender and supportive. He helps me with everything and supports me in every step and decision I make. I think he was attracted to how strong and independent I am, and that I am also open minded and adventurous.
The idea of Tekkeya App was mine. We were still engaged when I told him about it. Without hesitation, he encouraged me to do it. I founded it and then he joined as a co-founder. We worked together day and night to develop the application and we launched it a month after we got married. Sometimes it is hard for partners to work together, but we compliment each other. He is responsible for planning and strategy and I am responsible for the execution.
After we got married, he was transferred to Japan. I still work in Dubai. Living in two countries that are so far away are is easy, but he understands the importance of my job for me, and how busy I can be sometimes. We split our time between Japan and Dubai.
In addition to our partnership in the business, marriage for us is a complete partnership where we share responsibilities. He doesn’t help me with house work, we share it.Menna and Max were the finalists at Egypt Entrepreneur Awards 2021. They also received African Excellence Award 2021 and have been selected for Food 2.0 – Outstanding Leadership Recognition Award which will be held in February 2020 in Dubai.
Learn more about Tekkeya here
Gehad and Khaled, Partners in Life and Work
Since Jihad and Khaled met, he has been her biggest support. Khaled respects her ambitions, encourages her to express her opinion and to stand up for her rights. This support helped her make important decisions in her career, which gave her the opportunity to assume a leasing position in a marketing and advertising companies at a young age.
Khaled realized her interest in women’s issues, and encouraged her to write about them. Jihad created an Instagram page, Sticky Notes, where she writes posts to empower women, help them understand their feelings, improve their mental health and their relationship with their partner.
Khaled helps her create the content by searching for educational resources and courses related to her passion. For her professional career, he studies marketing, a field that he had previous experience in, to assist her with her job. This helped her increase her productivity, and achieve higher goals.
Jihad believes that without Khaled’s empowerment, she would not have been able to help other women.
Khaled is a TV director, they have aspiring plans to launch a YouTube channel on women’s issues. Jihad is preparing for the content to be able to start working on them when Khaled finished his army prepares Jihad for the content of these programs, so that they can start working on them after he completes his military service.
Visit Sticky Notes Instagram page here
Gihan & Khaled, Partners in Life & Business: Dar Jan Art & Farming Space
Five years ago, Gihan & Khaled decided to leave the city behind, sell everything and buy a piece of land in the desert of Nuweibaa, Sinai to build their organic farm & art space.
Gihan lived in Canada for over 20 years and had successful career in a multinational computer company. Then she started her own importing company where she imported the best quality handicrafts from Egypt to Canada. Eight years ago and after 23 years in Canada, she decided to move back to Egypt. Gihan is a multidisciplinary artist and an eternal learner. She writes, draws, paints, sculpts, sews, does embroidery, wood work, leather, jewelry and more.
Khaled lived his life in Egypt however being a travel lover made him tour the world. He worked for a multinational communication company and was fascinated by art & science. He also loves working with his hands, inventing and creating using his vast knowledge & creative mind. Gihan & Khaled met on a photography trip to Siwa. They matched like two pieces of a puzzle and got married. After living for two years in Cairo, they decided to move to Nuweibaa to realize their dream Dar-jan Art & Organic farming space. They plant their food naturally and practice all forms of art & handicrafts in their peaceful space.
They do everything themselves from farming to handicrafts with wood, leather, clay or any natural material and despite the hard work, they love every second of it. At their farm, they offer workshops for art and traditional handcrafts that include jewelry making, pottery, oil painting, sculpture, cooking, writing and more.
They also offer wellbeing and sustainability workshops. They produce organic dried organic herbs (Lemongrass, Marjoram, Horsemint, Moringa, Rosemary, Pelargonium, Sage…) and farm-made » organic, vegan hibiscus and aubergine jams, sun dried tomatoes, green tomatoes’ chutney and more.Living and working together is a huge challenge for the couple.
It requires lots of love, respect and hard work on the relationship, but still they are the living proof that it is possible to live a different fulfilling and sustainable life outside the city in Egypt.
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