Cairo, 9 March, 2022 – This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BreakTheBias. While the world now expects and demands more diversity, equity and inclusion, gender bias and gender stereotypes that are unconsciously entrenched in society’s culture can inhibit progress on gender equality.
The Minister of International Cooperation, during her GSK interview on ‘Breaking the Gender Bias’ held on International Women’s Day, shared her own golden rules for women to succeed and create less room for bias to creep in, and to define specific goals or metrics for success to help them evaluate their accomplishments.
Firstly, the Minister noted that in order to break bias, society must first acknowledge that this is bias, and secondly, that perceptions can change through actions and dialogue. The Minister referred to the example of Egyptian female leaders and politicians, as Egypt is now listed among the 96 countries that have reduced the gender gaps in parliament; increasing female representation from 14.9% to 27.4%, and 24.2% among ministers.
These politicians helped to break the bias and shift perceptions, and paved the way for other women, the Minister said. She shared her own example of being the first woman to become Egypt’s Minister of Tourism, which was traditionally led by men and is mostly a male-dominated field. Despite this, she was able to shift perceptions on the role of women in the industry, and recorded the highest tourism revenues in Egypt’s history in 2019, hitting $13 billion.
The Minister also reminded women to celebrate their own uniqueness, and to find their niche in order to stand out and show their competence. “There is a thin line between arrogance and confidence, but with true knowledge, you can push ahead and excel in a particular field,” she said.
She shared her 4Cs to success: Competence, Confidence, Connections and Charm, noting that breaking the gender bias starts by going the extra mile to continually learn, develop and excel. “Open your heart to the world and remember to ask questions and self-reflect everyday, because nothing can be achieved without a challenge. Giving it all with good faith, hard work and determination is how you can open a door not just for yourself, but for others as well.”
Concluding her speech, she emphasized that consistency is important, and in a rapidly changing world, awareness is crucial to continually develop and learn. “Consistency of success needs three key things: to set your intention, to be authentic, and to be present in every moment,” she said.
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