International Women's Day Portrait: Hassatou Diop N'Sele

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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 third in the series.

Interview with Hassatou Diop N'Sele, Bank Group Treasurer and Acting Vice-President, Finance

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

I joined the Bank in 1999 as a Senior Treasury Officer and I became Treasurer three years ago. I have been Acting Vice-President for Finance for nearly a year. I chose to stay in the same department since I joined the institution because I love my work and really value my colleagues. I strongly believe in the Bank and its mandate and, like many of my colleagues, I somehow feel that it is part of me. There is a desire that we all have to always do more and do better as much as we possibly can.

But, first and foremost, I am the mother of three daughters (aged 24, 23 and 16), and I have been able to balance my career and my family life.

All through my life I have been very influenced by my father and mother, who are hardworking hoteliers, with great enthusiasm. I have also been greatly influenced by my bosses: Evelyne Tall, who went on to become second-in-command at Ecobank Group, and Arunma Oteh, Vice-President and Treasurer of the World Bank. They are rigorous, competent and demanding professional women from whom I have learned a lot.

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

Three times out of five, my boss has been a woman. I haven't felt advantaged or disadvantaged being a woman. But it is clear that women have more challenges to overcome than men. This inequality exists and persists.

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

Absolutely, yes. This is the revolution for the women who I hope will take their rightful place in the world.

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

Be professional, work hard, believe in yourself and maintain your integrity. It is important to know your strengths and your limits and be nobody's pushover. One has to be determined, always ready to learn and to try to do better. But most of all, enjoy what life offers!

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