Nasra Ismail on the barriers to increased female leadership

Listen to the second episode of our DevProWomen2030 audio series.

Many in the global development and humanitarian aid sectors are calling for increased female leadership to create an environment — humanitarian and development sector — that works for everybody, but “there’s a lot of work to do to ensure leaders of all shapes, colors, and backgrounds are able to thrive,” said Nasra Ismail, deputy director of the Somalia NGO Consortium, a voluntary coordination mechanism of NGOs.

“Particularly in a fragile context, we see a lot of barriers in terms of women’s leadership: legally, regulatorywise but also in terms of cultural barriers,” she said, adding that women from the global south in particular face such barriers.

To tackle these, she suggested forming a coalition of women from high-income and emerging country contexts.

Helen Clark on the need for more women in global dev leadership

To kick off our six-part audio series DevProWomen2030, Devex talks to Helen Clark, former head of UNDP, on how the sector is changing and the implications for women in development.

“We do believe that the best way to address some of these issues — as grand, as difficult, and as complex as they are — is working through a coalition of differences and working together to ensure that those countries that we’re in, and may not have had the chance to improve, can do so more quickly.”

Through a six-part audio series, DevProWomen2030, Devex is speaking to women professionals, leaders such as Ismail, and recruiters in the sector to find out how changes across the development landscape are impacting women and what advice they have for those entering this space or looking to climb the ladder.

In the second installment, Devex spoke to Ismail, a former Somalia country director at Oxfam International, about the skills women will need to have to reach those leadership positions in a world that’s grappling with increasing instability. Listen here.

Devex, with financial support from our partner 2U, is exploring the skills and education development sector professionals will need for the future. Visit the Focus on: DevPros 2030 page for more.

About the authors

  • Rebecca root%2520%25281%2529

    Rebecca Root

    Rebecca Root is an Editorial Associate and Reporter at Devex. She has a background in journalism and communications, and has written for a variety of publications while living and working in New York and London. She is now based in Barcelona and produces multimedia editorial content for digital content series and media partnerships.
  • Emma smith

    Emma Smith

    Emma Smith is a Senior Careers Reporter at Devex, based in Barcelona. She focuses on bringing the latest career and hiring trends, tips, and insights to our global development community. Emma has a background in journalism and, in addition to writing for news publications, has worked with organizations focusing on child rights and women’s rights in sustainable development.