From where I stand: “One day, I want to wake up to find gender equality is real”

Hayfa Sdiri has created a platform for Tunisian youth, connecting entrepreneurs with ideas, skills and funders.

Date: 24 February 2017

Hayfa Sdiri. Photo: UN Women/Emad Karim
Hayfa Sdiri. Photo: UN Women/Emad Karim

Quote

I prefer not to tell people my age at first—people tend to not take me seriously because I am a young woman.

If you see the laws on the books in Tunisia, everything is equal. It’s not like women are not expected to study or work. But there are limits. If you are seen as being too bold, trying to breaking the stereotypes or the glass ceiling, you would raise concerns.

I founded Entr@crush, a new kind of online platform for Tunisian youth who have entrepreneurial ideas, to network with like-minded people, donors and entrepreneurs. It provides e-learning courses in a variety of topics, from management and accounting to communications, to prepare young entrepreneurs. It matches donors with young entrepreneurs. We are building this non-profit initiative with only five people and virtually no capital. We found volunteers to donate their skills.

For women who are not in the cities, this may be a way to take the first step towards gaining skills and starting businesses, without having to travel to the cities because everything is online.

One day, I want to wake up to find gender equality is real. I will stay out late that night; I will wear whatever I want to, without worrying about being harassed. I will be free to live by myself if I wanted to; I will earn as much as a man.”


SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

Hayfa Sdiri is a 19-year-old Tunisian blogger and social activist currently studying at Paris Dauphine University. She began her civic work at the age of 16 and was one of the leaders and first organizers of a series of youth conferences in Tunisia. Ms. Sdiri was among 12 change makers from the Youth Leadership Programme (YLP) designed and implemented by UNDP with the support of UN Women in the Arab region, to present at the 2017 ECOSOC Youth Forum at the UN Headquarters. Her work, which is focused on facilitating youth entrepreneurship and empowerment, contributes towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8, which promotes full and productive employment and decent work for all, including youth, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Read more stories in the “From where I stand...” editorial series.