Women In Politics
Inspiring Women 2022

How It Feels To Be One ...
Women Empowerment

Close-up of a young woman indoors wearing a white hijab showing a piece of paper in front of her face with the text we the women written in it.

© Shutterstock

My scars are my beauty blossoming

How it started 

It started like any other day, but this was a travelling day to Gummersbach, Germany. It was for the 2022 Women Political Leadership programme organised by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation's International Academy for Leadership, which involved 27 women from different countries with different backgrounds, cultures, and heartfelt stories. The tension was the first thing that everyone had to face. There was a lot to think about as no one was sure about what to expect. We only knew that everyone comes from very organised, liberated, and reputable organisations. As women, we quickly found a way to get comfortable in the environment. Everyone in the room felt at ease and welcome in a matter of seconds.

Our Value 

Regardless of our backgrounds and history back home, everyone was settled in within a day. We needed to gain trust in one another. Women feel loved and cared for if they get listening ears, a shoulder to lean on, and a heart to be felt.

IAF Women In Politics

Participants at the IAF Women In Politics seminar from around the world.

© Nasra Nassor Omar

My scars are my beauty thinking

How does it feel to be a female leader in this era?

People have their own sets of expectations towards women, especially when it comes to leadership roles. It is not easy and I realised that all over the world, women are facing common challenges that men do not face in the same leadership roles. Our communities expect so much from women but at the same time, they need us to be careful and follow their rules. Our societies think that if a woman becomes a leader or politician, she should not dress in a certain way and she should communicate in a certain way, something that is not expected from men.

Our current position 

This retreat did a lot more than uniting several continents around the world. We as women don't look for a position to fight for or a title to be proud of, we are looking for a place to thrive, and to be able to give other people the space they deserve. We are looking for ways to make the world a better place for everyone. We are humans and sometimes we make mistakes, our histories are revolving around us and we get to a point where we need to prove to others by doing so much more than necessary to get the same position that men get it easily.

IAF Women In Politics

Dr. Nasra Nassor Omar (middle) with two other guests at the IAF Women In Politics workshop.

© Dr. Nasra Nassor Omar

My scars are my beauty sharing

The story of courage 

It is deep in the chemical formula of women to have a sense of humility, trust in each other, and the ability to find our way to express our emotions. This is one of the main things I have learnt in Gummersbach, and that is people are carrying a lot in their chests. Female leaders are often perceived as perfect and strong, which is not always the case. We are human. We have good and bad moments. We have courageous stories and disappointments. It may also seem like we have our crowns fixed on, but we also have scars that we carry all the time.

We are what we are 

The past made us who we are but we are not defined by the past. We took all the experiences and made the best prototype. Like other human beings, our stories range from having low self-esteem, physical and mental abuse, and cultural and religious limitations to various sorts of disappointments. We have our ups and down, but deep down we make interesting stories and experiences out of it.

IAF Women In Politics Workshop

Participants at the IAF Women In Politics workshop capture the moment together.

© Dr. Nasra Nassor Omar.

My scars are my beauty caring

Our Cultural Diversity 

Our retreat was one of the best multidimensional gatherings. We made the best of it by sharing our similarities and differences and that was the whole package of diversity. We are the present and the future. We are delighted to share our common values as female leaders in our communities and organisations. The best of it was making friends from various continents in just a few days, and above all, creating a safe space for everyone.

Our Take

We are claiming our position for equal participation in decision-making because it is our basic right. "Women's rights are humans rights"

IAF Women In Politics Workshop

Dr. Nasra Nassor Omar (left) with other participants at the 2022 IAF Women In Politics workshop.

© Dr. Nasra Nassor Omar.

My scars are my beauty farewell

This programme made me realise that our differences made the best combinations. Learning from each other was more than a lesson and a take-home gift. Our facilitators couched us through leadership roles and responsibilities in combination with what is a women's role in our societies can be and how to claim these positions, be heard, and make decisions. This article was not meant to be based on one aspect on what we learnt, although I tried to catch a few headlines that we as women often missed. For example, linking our past and contributions we made to the role we are playing as leaders. Forgetting to take care of ourselves because of the role we have in making sure we lead the team well is not going to do good for our physical or mental health. We deserve to be happy and to have a comfortable space from the family level and beyond.

This article is an opinion piece by Dr. Nasra Nassor Omar, a delegate from Tanzania who participated at a Friedrich Naumann Foundation's International Academy for Leadership programme on Women In Politics.