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Women in Development: Consultants Shaping the World

#BalanceforBetter: Our women consultants share what motivates them to work in International Development.

Friday 08 March 2019, Emma Wootton, Samina Khan, Nikhita Kumar, Rita McIntyre-Pantz, Natasha Butorac, Philippa Jefferis, Nada Ibrahim, Rosario Leon

The world of consultancy has evolved rapidly, especially in the realm of international development. As instruments such as gender analysis and gender balance policies started to influence the public, international development and aid sectors, consultancies have adapted to allow a balanced representation of women’s views that work in harmony for the world’s most vulnerable and marginalised communities. As this year’s International Women’s Day seeks to highlight: balance is key to shape a better working world. 

For International Women’s Day 2019, we’ve asked some of our women consultants to share what motivates them the most to work as consultants in international development. 

International development is an exceptional career path, which broadens your horizons and lets you discover new cultures, customs and countries. It may also present you with difficult situations, where you’ll work with vulnerable communities and in unstable countries. It’s not an easy career, but it’s definitely enriching, mind-opening and fulfilling. 

Natasha, who is now working as a Programme Manager in South Sudan, the world’s newest, widely recognised country, says:

International Development has given me the unique opportunity to work on issues I’m passionate about – such as gender equality and forced migration – and better understand how others lead their lives in the incredibly diverse world we live in.

From our MEL Team, Rosario tells us

International Development offers me, as an evaluator, the opportunity to get evidence on and report women’s struggles, journeys and achievements on gender equality and women’s rights. I find this relevant because women’s voices and agency are indispensable for sustainable development.

Samantha is based overseas in Pakistan, where she works on the School Construction and Rehabilitation Programme which is expected to complete over 5.000 schools. She says: 

It’s inspiring to see that young girls now have access to classrooms, and in the future they will be able to contribute to Pakistan’s prosperity. I am motivated to improve educational opportunities, particularly for girls, as a way to address issues around climate change and sustainable growth, which I really care about.

Philippa is one of our on-the-field engineers. She’s a STEM ambassador and is currently on a mandate in Nepal working on rural roads that will finally connect communities and unlock plenty of economic and social opportunities, especially for women. Upon telling us that she is organising a DIY sanitary pad making workshop for rural women in Nepal she says:

I never thought civil engineering would lead me to organising workshops for DIY sanitary pads in rural Nepal. Working in development means that my engineering skills really have an impact on people’s lives and I also get more involved in the social aspects of my projects, something all engineers should strive to do.

Samina, also an engineer, currently leads the Environmental and Social Safeguarding team. In her opinion infrastructure is a game changer for women’s economic empowerment. She continues to say that through her work as an engineer, she’s able to foster women’s economic empowerment thanks to infrastructure and engineering, and she hopes to be an inspiration to other women and girls to engage more in STEM. 

Nada and Rita are both part of Inclusive Growth, a core team at IMC Worldwide, whose priority is the social inclusion and generation of opportunities for all, especially women. Nada says:

Through my work in private sector development, I am able to support women entrepreneurs to overcome a number of unique challenges in starting up a business and developing sustainable models of operation. In this way, their contribution to the economy improves.

Rita tells us that her role has often seen her working with some of the most vulnerable communities in the world, which unfortunately often place women at the lower end of society. In order to address this issue, she says that ‘as development professionals we go out of our way to ensure that women and other vulnerable groups are not left behind.’

Hulya has recently joined the Economics and Finance team. She comes from Turkey, where she has been working for various government departments on PPPs (Public-Private Partnerships). She tells us that she’s proud of being involved in creative thinking for development finance and inclusive business channels. Her role puts her in the position to shape an inclusive, innovative and dedicated infrastructure community, and she’s committed to creating value through this. 

Nikhita, from our Frameworks Team says that despite being exposed to the adversities of the world’s most marginalised communities, she’s grateful that her job gives her a platform to help tackle these and support the empowerment of hard-to-reach females.

And finally Emma, who heads the Communications, Business Development and International Resourcing teams says:

I love working at IMC because there is exactly the same number of women as men in our consultancy. Together, we work on projects around the world that improve women’s lives through smart, empowering connections.

All these stories and thoughts from women consultants in International Development tell us that the history of women’s oppression is not over yet, especially in developing countries. Working on women’s issues in the developing world is empowering: it allows us to make a difference and truly have long-lasting impact. Working in such different contexts is challenging, but so is working in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Women consultants are shaping the world and making it work for women worldwide. 

Share on social media using #BalanceforBetter #IWD2019 #IWD19 #InternationalWomensDay #WomenInDev

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