Amina Abdulla, Regional Director for the Horn of Africa at Concern Worldwide, never imagined herself working in the humanitarian sector, she is now an expert in strategic management and policy, encouraging gender equality across Somalia, South Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia. She was inspired by her mother, who was married at fifteen but left her husband to pursue an education. Witnessing the strength of that decision, Abdulla vowed to continue to inspire other women - committing herself to removing barriers for those like her.
Often, she attends meetings where other officials are surprised that she is a woman: and is told by other women that they want their leaders to look like her. She speaks about how vital it is that humanitarian charities reflect the work they engage with. 60% of Concern’s leadership team are women, and Amina insists on a commitment that male counterparts support their spouses or female relatives. She has seen the horrors of war and poverty, and seen it exacerbated by the lack of female role models - vowing to provide a model of a society that isn’t limited by its lack of imagination.
She isn’t whimsical about the challenge, however. Challenging societal norms requires difficult work. Often, women themselves cannot see their potential, so Amina concentrates on the need to overcome the limitations set by stereotypes. With an eye on the individual development of those in her team, her mission is to incentivise female leaders from a local to international level in the Global South. The deliberate action of designing this change in her life has provided a framework for others in the corporate and development sectors, and from there, those at every level of an organisation.