Women in the Changing World of Work

8 March, 2017
Hide Main Image: 
Hide Image

On International Women's Day (8 March), we asked some remarkable Heads of Office what motivates them and what challenges they face as female leaders. These are their inspirational answers.

Wendy Cue, Head of Office, OCHA ROLAC

Q: Why do you do what you do?

A: I do this work because I fundamentally believe we need to constantly advocate for human rights and for the values of diversity, tolerance and respect because if we do not we can see how quickly they can be eroded.

Q: What obstacles have you faced in your path to becoming a female leader, and how have you overcome them?

A: Obstacles I have overcome: a lot of self-doubt, some overt and some subtle discrimination, and motherhood. I have overcome obstacles to female leadership by standing up for what I believe in, and what I know to be right. And in all honesty, motherhood has made me a better person and a better leader. My daughter motivates me to be a better humanitarian.


Christina Blunt, Head of Office, OCHA Eritrea

Q: Why do you do what you do?

A: The knowledge that OCHA can make a difference drives me. The difference may be small in the larger scheme of things, but at the individual level, it is important.

Q: What obstacles have you faced in your path to becoming a female leader, and how have you overcome them?

A: I have overcome obstacles to female leadership by drawing inspiration from the many women who have gone before me, changing perceptions and paving the way.


Katleen Maes, Head of Office, OCHA Libya

Q: Why do you do what you do?

A: What drives me is to show that there are human faces and stories behind the hardship and to show that we can make a positive difference, no matter how small, sometimes just to one family's life. What inspires me… are the great colleagues I have worked with, who often live in difficult situations but are courageous enough to make sure that the lives of the next generation can be better. It is a privilege to contribute to that.

Q: What obstacles have you faced in your path to becoming a female leader, and how have you overcome them?

A: Sometimes in more conservative societies, it can take a bit more time to build trust, but I have found that if we are genuine about working together to improve things, we find mutual respect, regardless of gender.