Women are the key to development. According to the United Nations, women’s economic empowerment improves productivity and increases financial independence. Counterpart’s Global Women in Management (GWIM) program identifies women worldwide and equips them with tools and skills to become economically independent and contribute to the social development of their communities. Here is the story of one graduate of the program.
Nahed Yousry, the GWIM alumna and director of Sawiris Foundation in Egypt, believes women’s empowerment happens when they apply new skills in their jobs.
She is motivated by her passion for empowering vulnerable communities and alleviating poverty. She supports marginalized women who become independent from socioeconomic services by strengthening their skills, acquiring self-confidence and knowledge.
In her current position, Nahed uses the skills and network she developed through GWIM to empower other women. The mentoring and coaching she received from the program helped her amplify other women’s voices and provide them support. She believes the skills she obtained from the program will help her throughout her life, and she is using them in the best way possible to support others and her community.
After graduating from GWIM two years ago, Nahed adapted the knowledge she had gained to create a safe and empowering environment for women in Egypt. “I learned to solve the problems using root cause analysis,” said Nahed. “After GWIM, I was able to support the children’s adoption and orphanage policy, advocating for the rights of women and children to parental care.”
Influenced mainly by the gender session of the GWIM program, Nahed said: “I was impressed to see how the gender definitions and approaches were discussed smartly [sic] and easily understood. I could see how gender is integrated into the analysis and design of developmental interventions. Finally, it was not a shallow discussion where gender was mentioned as a quantitative balance between the number of men and women. The gender approach should be gender-neutral and gender-aware and then gender transformative. We talked about each phase’s characteristics and level of development. This is the first thing I proposed to the management upon returning from the program.”
Nahed added, “Three years later, I still see the GWIM program as a continuous learning journey that doesn’t stop. This training will stay within me and is not bound by location or time.” One of the things Nahed would like to initiate one day is a replica of GWIM on a national level in Egypt or a competition for young women with leadership skills from different Egyptian governorates who would be agents of change and positive influences within their communities.
Nahed emphasized that, “GWIM training is beyond serving us as participants; it is extended to thousands of people in many communities who we are working for. Our first responsibility, ‘our value,’ is to share, transfer and adopt what we learn and inspire our local communities.” She quoted American business executive Ginni Rometty, “Your value will be not what you know; it will be what you share.”
Managed and implemented by Counterpart International, Global Women in Management is a program funded by ExxonMobil Foundation. Since 2005, GWIM has supported 1,000 women from 77 countries with leadership, economic empowerment, management, and technical skills through residential workshops, coaching, and a network support system.