”True female leaders are needed to set a model for future generations”
As a fresh new student in 2013, Wiem Chamsi wanted to do something valuable with her free time and contribute to society. That is when she decided to join the local Hammam Sousse branch of the Tunisian Red Crescent. A journey that brought her all over the world: “This journey has shaped my personality and opened doors to new friendships and projects with a global impact.”
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“There is no doubt that joining the Tunisian Red Crescent has influenced my life. Not only by giving me the chance to learn new skills, but mostly by boosting my vision and life goals. This journey has shaped my personality, drawn my strategic guidelines, pushed my limits, challenged my comfort zones and opened up new doors to greater opportunities, higher ambitions, good friendships across borders and inspiring projects with a global impact. All the hardship and tough challenges that I went through during the years made me the strong woman I am today. Success might look easy in the eyes of others, but behind it is a whole different story.

”We wanted to create transparency and equality”

– Wiem Chamsi, Tunisia

One of the things that I'm most proud of is the opportunity I had to facilitate the making of a draft of our national volunteering policy along with responsibles of the TRC regional committees and other young volunteers. We wanted to create transparency and change, so we came up with the First National Volunteering Policy draft that raised awareness to corruption within the humanitarian work. We made our own definition of corruption, gave different examples of it and sent out a national call to fight corruption and join the international movement towards a better humanitarian world that believes in equal chances, youth capacities and reducing inequalities at all levels. The draft was established in March 2018. We are still working hard to make it official.

Being part of the Red Crescent movement has taught me how to fight and never give up. It gave me the strength and passion to start my own club ‘Youth for Change’. We are a movement of young change makers working on sustainable development goals and innovative change within the community. Also, thanks to my experience with the TRC I have been invited as a young woman speaker in many regional and national leadership events to share my journey within the Tunisian Red Crescent and to participate in different programs and workshops around the world such the IFRC global innovation accelerator program.

”It is unfortunate that many still question one's capability only because she is young and female”

– Wiem Chamsi, Tunisia

Despite the encouragements of all these great initiatives, it is a big step to be leading a room full of men. It still seems odd to many who are volunteering in the TRC (men in general) that a woman is standing in front of the crowd. It still seems like they are questioning whether a woman is capable of doing so, only because she is young and female. That is unfortunate.

Growing up in a man dominated society reduces the space for women to believe in themselves, to achieve great things, to innovate and discover their true potential. It shuts down their voices along with their potential to be a leader. Social Media and activists play a major role in spreading awareness about this issue, but true female leaders are needed to set a model for future generations to break the barrier of silence and the false idea of inclusiveness of men. Stuck in these psychical limitations, maybe the true challenge is how to make women believe in themselves and their capabilities to be a leader.

That is where Glow Red and the women behind it can make a change. We should fully embrace the cause and engage ourselves in opening the space for women in our network to innovate, take decisions and be a leader. Being able to lead teams and projects boosts someone’s confidence and develops leadership skills. Investing in women leadership doesn’t stop with a facebook post about women superpowers. It starts with a mentorship program that helps them during their journey of change making and creates the opportunity for them to try, to make mistakes and learn from them. But besides educating and assisting strong women to believe in their potentials, it is just as important to implement into young men the importance of gender balance and the power of women leadership."

Wiem Chamsi

Tunisia, 2013

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Did you know...

Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 per cent more likely to outperform competition.

– McKinsey & Co. (2015)

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