"When messages come from women, they have more impact"
Brigitte Pedro, Chief of WASH in UNICEF Madagascar, sees challenges and opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic
On March 8, it's International Women's Day. This year’s theme is "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world", celebrating the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. At UNICEF, we want to celebrate the achievements of women in leadership positions, and also those who display leadership qualities.
Throughout the whole month of March 2021, the Women's Month, we publish the stories of only a few of the many women who make a difference in UNICEF every day. Today, we host the interview of Brigitte Pedro, our Chief of WASH in Madagascar.
I did not see my kid since January 2020. Even if it is difficult, it is a great opportunity for women to demonstrate capacity to manage job, family and private life. It will help you in your future career to deal with complex environment.
Chief of WASH, UNICEF Madagascar
Who are you and what is your role at UNICEF?
I'm Brigitte Pedro, Chief of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), in UNICEF Madagascar. I was in charge to manage the WASH COVID-19 emergency response for all over the country with my team.
How did COVID-19 impact your life, both on professional as well as on personal level?
It was very challenging to telework for such a long time from March to December. To keep my team on board without meeting them. To be isolated from my own family, still now, I did not see my kid since January 2020.
Do you think that the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionally impacted women, mothers and girls' lives, and how?
It was very difficult for women to both cope for teleworking with kids at home, to pursue the daily domestic work and also support kids' education that it is mostly a task that women are taking account. Also domestic violence increase because of lockdown.
What do you believe are women's strengths, and what are the advantages of female leadership in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic?
Women are used being multi-taskers, so coping with another task in combatting COVID-19 was difficult but manageable. In COVID-19, hygiene and protection are normal for women as we are used to protect our kids. When messages are coming from women, they have more impact. Women are well placed to talk about hygiene.
What is your advice to women navigating their careers during a health crisis, as well as in a post COVID-19 pandemic world?
Even if it is difficult, it is a great opportunity for women to demonstrate our capacity to manage your job, family and private life. It will help you in your future career to deal with complex environment.