Gender equality must be speeded up, says Elja Abdullaeva. Today, on International Women’s Day, the 33-year-old entrepreneur is launching a “female counterpart” to LinkedIn: ConnectHer.eu.
ConnectHer is a community where women can unite and help each other with personal and professional growth.
Make female role models visible on ConnectHer
At ConnectHer.eu, female professionals can network with like-minded women at any stage of their career, find a coach or mentor, or discover job openings and career opportunities from inclusive organizations. At ConnectHer.eu, knowledge, ambition and inspiration are bundled on one platform. All with the aim of making female role models visible and accessible.
With the platform, Elja Abdullaeva wants to contribute to a society in which the use of the talent and competences of the professional woman is no longer seen as an exception, but as a necessary addition to organizations on the labor market. “We believe that when ambitious women are given more opportunities, it will ultimately benefit everyone and lead to a more equal world,” she said.
Much to be gained from gender equality
Abdullaeva was born in Azerbaijan and came to the Netherlands with her parents at the age of 9. After graduating with honors from the HBO program in Human Resource Management, she worked for large telecom companies for three years. There she often sat at the table with men. She was regularly asked whether there were no more female candidates, especially for tech jobs. “It showed that women are in high demand, but apparently they are difficult to find,” says Abdullaeva. “The shortage of women in the tech world is also partly due to too few role models.”
But it is not only in the tech world that there is still much to be gained in the field of gender inequality, the entrepreneur emphasizes. “European women are disproportionately represented in the labor market and still earn 15% less wages than men, according to a survey by the European Parliament,” says Abdullaeva. “According to Statistics Netherlands, more than half of Dutch women between the ages of 25 and 35 have a higher education than men, but this is not sufficiently reflected in the positions that women hold. And women are not taken seriously when it comes to financing start-ups either. “
Only at the same level in 100 years
Partly because of this, the idea for ConnectHer.eu was born, a platform on which experts can provide career advice. If women actively help each other, it can all be done much faster, Abdullaeva believes. Politics and business are making progress, but change is taking place too slowly. “The World Economic Forum reports that women will not be at the same level as men at this rate for a hundred years.”
A missed opportunity, she says, because equality between men and women is not only good news for the women themselves. “At a company that is committed to gender diversity in management, profits increase significantly.” According to research, nearly three-quarters of companies committed to gender diversity in management saw profits increase by five to twenty percent. Abdullaeva takes a firm position on this: “We women must unite. Together we can achieve faster that the business community contributes to an equal labor market for everyone. ‘Empowered women, empower women‘is the platform’s motto. ”
ConnectHer.eu starts as a bilingual beta version in both Dutch and English. If the idea catches on, Abdullaeva wants to expand further. She will then switch from WordPress to her own system à la LinkedIn, which will be accessible worldwide in all possible languages. Companies can participate with a subscription form that allows them to promote their business, post vacancies and search and recruit candidates. Women can also leave company reviews and ratings on the platform. Other women see where it is fun to work or how a collaboration has gone.
The earnings model is based on the ‘for profit, for goodprinciple. “That means that we want to invest the money again in women in the Netherlands and, where possible, also in third world countries,” says Abdullaeva. “We then look at projects in the field of training and working conditions.”
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Tessa Ham is an editor at WorkJuice.nl and writes for Metro about career and money.
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