To commemorate the International Women’s Day, we are featuring women who have made notable contributions in their respective industries. We aim to explore the tenacity of each and discover how they pushed boundaries to rise to the top.
What does the 2022 International Women’s Day slogan, #BreaktheBias mean for you in your work life?
In my field, I primarily work with women. So I am lucky to be surrounding by like-minded colleagues who understand bias in the work place. But because of our line of work, domestic violence response, I think that expanding the implied understanding of “bias” to include women who experience bias during the experience or process of dealing with abuse could be trulytransformational for women and communities. One in three women will experience abuse in their lifetime, but often, this problem is not taken seriously. Therefore, #BreaktheBias in the context of domestic or sexual abuse could mean that women around the world might start getting improved and equal treatment as victims of this crime.
What is the main challenge that you’ve faced as a woman in your industry?
Because I am the founder and director of a women’s humanitarian organization, some of my key duties include fundraising and PR. However, because the problem with which we are dealing mainly afflicts women, and it is a subject that is still surrounded by many societal taboos, many potential sponsors and partners are hesitant to get involved. Therefore, as an organization we are always walking a fine line between staying true to our values and mission, while softening our messaging to not alienate the community.
What has been the most empowering moment in your career?
At the beginning of 2021, Shamsaha was awarded a large-scale grant from the L’Oreal Fund for Women, out of Paris. This was an incredible moment of acknowledgement by world-renowned company. This truly helped me personally as well as everyone within our organization feel a deep sense of pride and accomplishment. When an organization such as L’Oreal not only conceptually supports your mission, but backs it up with hundreds of thousands of dollars, you know that you’re doing something right!
Which powerful woman do you admire the most and why?
I’ve been asked this question many times, and I still don’t have a great answer. Because there are so many powerful women who I admire. Let me just say that from the President of the L’Oreal Fund to my neighbor here in Bahrain, amazing women have been helping me along the way. I think the key to this question is keeping an open mind and recognizing that there are so many incredible women out there and everyone has a different super power!
Do you have any advice for women wanting to start their own business or work their way up the ladder?
Take the time to learn the business you’re interested in. Do the necessary research before starting to ensure that you’re ready and that you know what you’re getting into. Having also started Shamsaha alone, I have learned there are many difficulties in being a founder. So, consider finding a partner and creating a co-founding relationship to share the burdens.
What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?
I would like to see an end to the global patriarch. I would like to see women and girls no longer facing violence and abuse. I would like to see them treated as equals in dignity and respect from the corporate world, to criminal justice systems, to healthcare and within domestic/family settings as well as all other areas in which women experience discrimination, which is all areas of life! Because when women thrive, everybody thrives!