Inspirational actions come from women from all backgrounds, with women in business and other fields now more than ever, understanding how critical it is to support one another in order to succeed.
The objective of Carerha, a Facebook page and website, is to help give women the flexibility they require in their busy domestic and working lives. In addition to helping women find the employment they are looking for, it also helps businesses find the employees they need. It helps to provide women with the work-life balance they have been hoping for.
Jessy Radwan, the 29-year-old CEO and founder of the Carerha Hire Super Mama site, is a working mother who was unable to find a job with hours flexible enough to suit her lifestyle. She experienced the conflict that many working mothers do between her career and her children. As she felt she was not spending enough time with her daughter, she worked hard to find a job that would allow her to spend quality time with her daughter and provide her with career fulfilment. Sadly, this turned out to be very difficult to find.
“This caused a lot of frustration, and it was at this point that Hire Super Mama was conceived, beginning as a Facebook group,” Radwan said. “It started four years ago as a way for mothers to learn from each other’s experiences in the workplace and to support one another in finding flexible employment.”
“I was astounded by the sheer number of mothers going through the same struggle – to find a profession that fulfils them intellectually while also allowing them to care for their children.”
As the group grew, Radwan realised that there is a sizable pool of skills in the market that is untapped, including the hundreds of experienced professional mothers who have given up their jobs after having children simply because they could not find employment flexible enough to meet their needs.
As the demand for Hire Super Mama rose, Radwan concluded that most women, and not just mothers, were seeking more flexibility. Women across the world are looking for flexible jobs that will advance their careers along with their new roles and responsibilities, she said.
This was how Carerha, Egypt’s top platform for women’s careers and the first of its kind in the Middle East, was born. Radwan realised that women needed more than a Facebook group like Hire Super Mama, and so she set it up as a complementary site.
“We are now more than 40,000 women on Hire Super Mama, mostly mothers. We provide funded programmes for our members, including one with Microsoft and CareEgypt for freelancers,” Radwan said. “We also provide courses for mothers to know more about how to become remote workers. I should say that besides my family, Hire Super Mama members are giving me the support I need.”
Being a woman, a mother, and an achiever at the same time is possible, and a woman’s sense of identity, financial independence, broader perspective, improved problem-solving skills, and overall happiness are all enhanced by a successful career. Her confidence will increase as a result of these things, including as a mother, even as she might be heavily dependent on her family’s support and her own drive for success.
“We firmly believe that a working woman can be a better mother, contrary to the widespread misconception in Egypt that she cannot. My motivation is to make sure that no other women will feel the same pain I felt. The moment I became a mother was the moment I felt I lost my identity at work,” Radwan said. “I had to choose between my work and my daughter. This was very unfair.”
Radwan’s biggest challenge was to convince employers that flexibility would work for their women employees. Today, the market is readier than ever before for flexibility at work, thanks in part to the home-working that became the norm for many during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“They finally saw that working from home, as a sort of flexibility, is very beneficial for them and cuts costs,” Radwan said. For employers, using the Carerha recruiting website is easy and affordable. They can post jobs free for a three-month trial period and later subscribe to a package that varies from LE150 to LE400.
“We are planning a major meeting in October that will help to raise awareness about offering women flexible jobs that help them to achieve a work-life balance. There will be workshops and a job fair,” Radwan said, adding that not so many years ago people did not believe in flexibility and had not heard about working from home.
Now, both are seen as promising ideas, and the market is more and more open to such initiatives.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 18 August, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.