International Women's Day Portrait: Christiane Moulo

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On the occasion of International Women’s Day, March 8, we shine a spotlight on eight women plus one – the Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society – who are making a difference at the African Development Bank. This is the ninth in the series.

Interview with Christiane Moulo, Web Assistant, Communications and External Relations Department

First, please introduce yourself by sharing an anecdote or an experience, personal or professional, that has made you who you are today.

I am a 37-year-old Ivorian. I have been working in internet communications for nearly 10 years. I'm currently responsible for web content management at the African Development Bank. Nothing in my education foreshadowed a career in web development. In sixth form college, I specialized in chemistry. And I carried on with chemistry right up to gaining a Bachelor's degree in it. At that time, I was planning to enter professional life in the field of chemistry. Unfortunately, that period was marked by troubles in Côte d’Ivoire and it was hard for us young graduates to find work relevant to our degrees. Consequently, so as to not waste time doing nothing in particular, I signed up for a course in marketing communications with the goal of setting up on my own company in event management. Because one of my passions was just that: event management.

When the course ended, the school decided to incubate a start-up and after an interview, I was selected to be a member of the team. Our project was to create, publish a website and manage a general information portal. Unfortunately, this project did not reach the implementation phase. But this did nothing to diminish my passion for web projects. So, I joined a group of friends who were IT developers and we created a start-up that we later transformed into a web development agency, which was a limited liability company. There were five of us, and I was the only woman. And that was how I combined my passion for the internet with my training in marketing to get to where I am today. The thing that I'm totally passionate about is web marketing.

In your view, would you say being a woman has been an obstacle or an advantage in the evolution of your career?

Being a woman has been more of an advantage professionally, not in terms of favouritism but in terms of intrinsic strengths, of values that I would describe as "female", like patience, empathy, active listening and attention to detail. And all these strengths have helped me better nurture and develop my professional skills.

What does March 8th mean for you? In your view, should every day be International Women’s Day?

For me, March 8th represents the celebration of a multi-faceted human being, able to adapt to any situation and to put up with a lot. Unfortunately, her voice is not always heard. I can see that women sometimes lack opportunities to properly take on roles that they are capable of doing. As far as I'm concerned, celebrating March 8th is giving a chance to all those women who have potential to really assert themselves.

Should we celebrate March 8th every day of the year? I don't think so. Even so, I do think it's right to pause for reflection on this day and to think about women's prospects for development. On the other hand, I think that all the other days of the year, we should take inspiration from International Women's Day to think and take action to uphold women's rights. In any case, one action taken is worth a thousand words.

What advice or words of wisdom would you give young women who would like to learn from your career and follow in your footsteps?

To women who want to learn from my career path, I would tell them to be responsive and ready to seize all the opportunities that come their way, even if they don't seem to be instantly attractive. You can't necessarily achieve all your dreams, or your dream job or dream house at the first attempt.

We build ourselves up and achieve our goals little by little. I would add that to provide the means to reach your goals, you need to strive for excellence in everything you take on. This is the only way to develop your self-confidence and for people to notice that you are a person with the ability to carry out a bigger role. I began in a start-up where I had no certainty of being paid for several months. I accepted this risk because I had a strong urge to learn. That is what allowed me to be at the level I'm at now, that I gave completely of myself even without remuneration.

I was and still am constantly learning, with online training, tutorials, training seminars or camps, and so on. This is because the sector that I'm in is constantly shifting and I always need to be up to speed. So, have faith in what you are doing, turn your passions into career opportunities, and you will be more than fulfilled.