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She is One Episode 5: Innovating Leadership

February 21, 2018

Behind every statistic, there is a story to tell.

An initiative of the Women in Public Service Project, She is One is sharing the stories of the women behind the numbers. Join the conversation using #SheIsOne.

Learn more about the numbers driving global gender parity with our Global Women's Leadership Initiative Index.

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In this episode, H.E. President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim of Mauritius discusses her goals and insights in promoting women in public service and women in STEM. As a career scientist, entrepreneur, and now public servant, H.E. Gurib-Fakim is working to empower women and young girls to join the STEM fields. 

President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim of Mauritius calls herself the “accidental president,” emphasizing the fact that as a scientist and entrepreneur, public service was not a field she imagined for herself. However, when she was asked to run for office in 2014 she felt obligated to answer the call. According to President Gurib-Fakim, “we need more women in leadership,” and more importantly “we need more women in power.” She believes that with more women in power, more policies can be created to promote women in public service and science.

Early in life President Gurib-Fakim learned to be confident and believe in herself. She credits her father’s support and her motivated teachers for her success in STEM and public service. Gurib-Fakim is a strong proponent in the power of engaged fathers in encouraging their daughters to go to school and dream. She also believes that today we “need more solidarity” amongst women, which can be achieved through more women mentoring young girls.

As a scientist turned public servant, President Gurib-Fakim hopes to change the way women are treated in STEM fields and spotlight women in science to empower young girls. Her focus not only comes from her background, but from the Sustainable Development Goals. She said that “science is the foundation of the SDGs” and that this is the first time the United Nations has adopted the “transformative power of science.” Focusing on women in STEM, President Gurib finds that historically we have not given sufficient value to women’s contributions to science and that trend needs to change.

In closing, President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim challenged girls to “dream, dare, and act.”



Her Excellency Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, PhD

Her Excellency Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, PhD

President of the Republic of Mauritius
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Global Women's Leadership Initiative

The Global Women’s Leadership Initiative has hosted the Women in Public Service Project at the Wilson Center since June, 2012. The Women in Public Service Project will accelerate global progress towards women’s equal participation in policy and political leadership to create more dynamic and inclusive institutions that leverage the full potential of the world’s population to change the way global solutions are forged.  Read more