Power to Empower: Amira Yahyaoui On the Internal and External Challenges of Being a Woman Leader
October 2020 – Amira Yahyaoui is a Tunisian activist and global technology entrepreneur. In 2011, amid the Tunisian Revolution, Amira founded Al Bawsala, a democracy-building NGO which combats transparency issues between government decision-making and Tunisian citizens. In 2017, Amira shifted her work to Silicon Valley and founded Mos.com, a site addressing the lack of transparency surrounding student financial aid access. A recently named board member for Vital Voices Global Partnership, Amira spoke with President and CEO, Alyse Nelson, about what drives her to solve problems.
In their conversation, Amira presents a unique perspective of the internal and external pain that is sometimes involved in being a woman changemaker. She was enraged after being physically beaten due to her work fighting for democracy; she describes this event as a sort of catalyst for her activism career. She was later exiled from Tunisia for 7 years, returning only to drastically change the way citizens access their government. No stranger to isolation, Amira speaks of the loneliness that follows women who enter in to male-dominated sectors of work, namely that of technology in the Silicon Valley.
Through Amira’s detailed testimony, we become unquestionably aware of the additional physical and emotional barriers women must go through to achieve the same success as men. Amira gives praise to the team-building power of women and their willingness to include other women in their pursuit of success. It is in this team-building capacity that she believes makes women such distinctive leaders.
In a call to action, Amira encourages listeners to strive for success and not fear failure or rejection. For women specifically, she emphasizes the importance of being vocal and establishing yourself even in the most improbable circumstances.
This podcast series is inspired by the Vital Voices: 100 Women Using their Power to Empower – edited by Alyse Nelson with artwork by Gayle Kabaker and published by Assouline.
Listen to her episode here:
This post was written by Annalysse Mason.