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Creating a Gender-Smart Workspace 

By Filseta Asrat | Sat Mar 05 2022
An Interview with Yemsrach Chanyalew, Deliver Addis’s HR and Admin Manager 

In celebration of International Women’s Day and RENEW’s commitment to gender equality in our organization and throughout the work we do, we recently spent time with Yemsrach Chanyalew, who works for Deliver Addis, one of our portfolio companies. Yemsrach is the company’s HR and administration manager, and she spoke to us about her journey to become an executive and the gender biases she’s encountered along the way.
This is what Yemsrach shared about her journey. 
“I graduated with a degree in theatrical art from Addis Ababa University, and though I had an interest in theatrical art, I did not pursue it professionally. To survive, I pledged to myself I would enroll in different sectors to survive and get a job that pays well. I was a full-time sales representative for 11 months at a trade and advertisement company. As time passed I wasn’t able to continue due to health issues. In that role, I spent the day outside in the sun and I found the tasks to be difficult as a female. After that, I joined other companies and worked as a secretary and office manager and then as an office coordinator and HR coordinator at a restaurant. 
I then decided to become self-employed and to start my own business. I opened a mini-market. I took a risk starting a business when neither I nor my family had any background in the business world. I invested my all. I didn't have a plan B and in the end, I was left empty-handed two years later. But I didn't give up. After closing my business, I joined a new company as an HR assistant and administrator and worked there for almost a year. This was around the time when the pandemic hit. While I was doing market research I landed at Deliver Addis.”
Moving deeper in the interview Yemsrach shared what she enjoys the most in her work and her inspirations to work harder. She also shared her future plans and visions for the ecosystem.

“I enjoy tasks that are challenging. I love how challenging my work is at Deliver Addis. I'm strict by nature and in a way that makes me enjoy what I do, and I know I can execute it well. I always had an interest in art when I was younger but as I grew throughout my journey in many different work environments I grew more interested in HR. It matched really well with my personality, and it inspired me to pursue it more at greater heights. I'm now doing my second degree in business management and I will graduate this year and then I plan to do my MBA in HR. I have a big vision to open my own training center, where people can practically learn and practice the skills that can help them become professionals in a gender-smart ecosystem.”
She shared her perspective on why gender equality issues are often overlooked in the workspace. 
“I think we don’t openly discuss gender equality and its underlying issues openly as a community, and I believe the reason is often culture. The way we were raised or the culture we were raised in has a major contribution to how gender biases are handled in the community. We need to have open and honest discussions on the issues. It would be great if there were associations or specific departments in companies or organizations that mainly focus on issues surrounding gender biases in the workspace.”
Stay tuned in the next few months to learn more about resources RENEW has been developing to help companies like Deliver Addis on the journey to becoming gender-smart.

Photo by Imran Mazar | Tim Mossholder from Pexels
Renew Capital is an Africa-focused impact investment firm that backs innovative companies with high-growth potential. Renew Capital manages investments made on behalf of the Renew Capital Angels, a global network of angel investors, foundations and family offices who seek financial returns and sustainable social impact. For the latest on investing in Africa, subscribe and follow us at our social links below.

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