Updated on March 16, 2023

"It takes ten times longer for a woman to find a job than for a man..."

By Shana Devleschoudere
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"Each woman we train is a role model for others. Economic independence is not freedom, but it is a tool to achieve it" - Sana Afouaiz/Womenpreneur.

"Each woman we train is a role model for others. Economic independence is not freedom, but it is a tool to achieve it" - Sana Afouaiz/Womenpreneur.

As we have seen for several weeks, the Leader is multi-faceted, like the ball of the same name. This Friday, we continue our investigation about the Leadership of today. And a revelation has come to us. Her name is Sana Afouaiz!
The Leader is not only a leader of men and women. In today's society, the person who aspires to become a leader must be very adaptable to reach his or her goal. Like a multi-faceted ball, he or she must use and show different sides of his or her personality, depending on the situation.
Currently, one of the cardinal values in the company is... happiness! The equation is simple: a happy employee will be more invested and will produce better quality work. And the company that employs them will benefit. This seems elementary but it is not always the case. There are many examples where management by pressure and fear is still the rule.
Today, many people have understood that benevolence is necessary. The proof is Sana Afouaiz, who was the revelation of the "Lobby Awards 2022". And as chance would have it, this inspiring woman of Moroccan origin created the non-profit organization Womenpreneur here in Brussels. A non-profit organization that encourages women, often marginalized in Belgium, the Middle East and North Africa, to undertake and train, to ensure their place in the economy of the future and to gain their financial independence, synonymous with freedom.
The one who defines her association as "A stimulator to the female economic participation, through entrepreneurship and job creation in the fields of tomorrow, leadership, technical, technological, sustainable dimension ..." can be proud of what she has accomplished.
Her record? With her, more than 16,000 women have benefited from the support, training, internships and networks that Womenpreneur initiates and offers them free of charge. This, in order to create their own activity or to facilitate their access to employment. But the Belgian-Moroccan woman sees further: "Each woman we train or who succeeds in her life is a role model for others. This can range from Ilham Kadri to the neighbor who thrives in the store next door. Economic and financial independence is not freedom, but it is a tool, a base, to be able to reach it, to be able to look at one's environment differently.
Sana Afouaiz's struggles are numerous: feminism, sexism, machismo, gender equality, racism, ... She is on all fronts! But she makes a connection: "If I had known what I know today, I would have studied technology. The real power is in the hands of the people who know how to manage it. That's why we focus on digital literacy. Only 8% of women work in tech. What a waste of talent! We are also opening up to other professions in which women are poorly represented: firefighters, construction jobs, etc., trying to expand the field of possibilities. Women must be at the heart of the economy of the future. But progressing towards real equality is still quite a task. And I don't know if we'll get there in my lifetime... It takes ten times longer, on average, for a woman to find a job than for a man. There are less than 13% of women entrepreneurs. Hence the importance of plans that promote professional creation and integration, regardless of the field of activity. I have experienced and fought against discrimination, I have seen so many injustices, at all levels, that women accept. I myself do not feel included, when I see, even here in Belgium, the debates that still exist around abortion, the sexualization of women in the media, the condescension with which I am spoken about. With Womenpreneur, we try to create economic opportunities, to set up several projects per year, acceleration programs, resilience, awareness, ...".
To find out more about this extraordinary woman, who also works at the UN, go to the Lobby on page 54!
In the meantime, do you remember what you had already accomplished at 28? And, at this point, you are wondering why I am asking you this question? Well... that's the age of Sana Afouaiz! Doesn't that tell you something?