“There were socially accepted topics of conversation in my home and money wasn’t one of them. I never learned the vocabulary for asking for more, asking for a raise, using my connection to network and advance my career. I don’t think men question money or networking the same way. My grandmother taught me to never overstay your welcome and to not be an imposition.” Claire Rowell is a workplace anthropologist with PLASTARC, where she says her boss, Melissa Marsh, is a true role model. “It is inspiring to see Melissa’s command over a meeting. She is confident and capable and often she is the only woman in the room. A lot of my friend’s mothers are like this too and I admire them. They are strong women and their example is trickling down to their daughters. I am not yet equipped with all of these traits and skills but I hope to be in the very near future.”
“I was raised in the 1950’s when women could become nurses, teachers or social workers,” laughed Catherine Lennon, ” I was lucky I had very good parents and they sent me to college at St.Rose in Albany. We were called the “Golden Rose Buds” and this year is our 50th reunion.” Catherine became a social worker and worked for Catholic Charity who then gave her a full scholarship to Fordham to earn her MSW. “I worked in the government for the Health Department and I retired and now I get a huge pension,” she said smiling. At that time there weren’t many women working with her and her male bosses would say things like “Well, you might not be here in a few years,” implying that young women would get married and leave their jobs to become housewives. Catherine never did get married and never had children. “Single men are called swinging singles but a unmarried women is an old maid or it is assumed that you have some sort of defect that makes you unwanted,” she explained. “One of my best supervisors was gay and when she got in a fight with her partner, she moved in with me. There was a lot of sniggering at work. People make a lot of assumptions when you aren’t married,” she explained. “It really kills me to see Hillary using the woman card, because it’s phoney. You have to vote for who you want to vote for, not vote for someone because they are a woman,” she said.
“An empowered woman empowers society. It is a big responsibility being a woman and being a mother. Women need to be supported with their children, with their family and with their work. Before all the diplomats were men. Then there were female diplomats but until 2002 female diplomats from Kuwait were not places in international roles. A woman may face injustice at any stage of life. And we need to promote our rights more than men have too. I am proud that I am a woman and even prouder that I have reached my goals despite gender challenges.” Alya is the 8th female diplomat from Kuwait that has been sent to another country and has been working at the United Nations headquarters since 2011 and will return to Kuwait this summer. She is also the mother of four children.