During Women’s History Month, we celebrate the female pioneers whose past sacrifice has paved the way for the future success of millions of women. We think of the strides we have made, the seemingly insurmountable obstacles overcome and the glass ceilings that have shattered. However, there remains a nagging sense of how we define that success; are we doing “enough” and are we pursuing a seemingly impossible dream? All those issues and more were front and center at the WomenUp conference which took place on 20 March 2019 in Cairo, Egypt. Co-sponsored by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology and The National Council for Women, the conference aimed to not only empower women, but to provide real-life examples and additional, actionable steps that can be utilized while pursuing a dream. For women, those next stages can seem daunting for a number of reasons.
Presenting Best Practices and Lessons Learnt/Regional Perspective, Izabella Naessa, Head of Business Development and Strategy for GetBEE, underscored these points while documenting her own journey into the tech world. While presenting to a room full of women eager to hear the story of success, Izabella highlighted not only the high expectations that her parents had for her, but the ones she set on herself.
"Once you let go with the idea of being right all the time, you realize the tremendous importance of failure. It's OK to make mistakes. What is not OK is to give up. So we have to keep trying."
Abandoning the pursuit of perfection, Izabella instead chose to take advantage of situations that presented themselves instead of waiting for the “perfect” opportunity. Instead of feeling like a failure for not fitting in, she chose to carve out her own lane; by not fitting into a box, she created her own. Izabella emphasized that women should do away with the idea of a deadline for success and instead define their career and lives by an individual measure. Alleviating this internal pressure will allow women the ease of fulfilling their personal and professional pursuits.
As we close on Women’s History Month, let us remember to highlight our achievements and to view failure, not as a stumbling block, but a stepping stone. Let’s celebrate ourselves loudly, without fear and without limitations!