When I was a little kid at school, my Portuguese teacher said: “Ana, if you want to, you could be a great journalist one day”. Maybe because of that, I studied Communications. In 2002 I met Mrs. Ruth Cardoso, Brazil's first lady at the time, leader of a nonprofit organization whose main objective was to increase literacy in the country, whose strength, good will and work became a model to me. Also in 2002, I left a promising job at an ad agency to become a volunteer at a small nonprofit AIDS organization. In my first day at work, I witnessed a woman living in so terrible a situation that almost took her own life in from of my whole staff. Years later, I realized how curious I was about international cooperation, so I took my Master’s on this topic. After that, as an Atlas Corps fellow, I had a great opportunity to work focused on Latin America women situation, for the first time.

These are the top five episodes that made big difference in my life. In different ways, those events have opened to me a whole new world, where I put together interests, passions and academic background. As a social worker, a concerned citizen and a woman, issues like governance, poverty and inequality are particularly close to my heart. We can see daily on the news the shortage of international aid to some regions (e.g. Latin America) hampers social and economic development. And it is a known fact that poverty, inequality, economic crisis and linked matters impact directly on women’s lives. It requires special attention from country governments, civil society and the international community to be solved. So we have to speak up.

In World Pulse we gathered a very diverse group of people related to women’s rights - accomplished experts, nonprofit advocates, academics and leaders from diverse fields - to participate in a provocative environment where we come together to “think big,” to position women’s empowerment with other issues critical to development. That is why I am here.

Being part of it, I feel motivated like nothing could stop this group. Our presence and engagement in this network represents inspiration and hope. I truly believe we learn much more with our counterparts around the globe than with the books. I also believe joining together our collective wisdom, deep experience, and new ideas will lead us towards achieving the goal of giving women better lives somehow.

As most of you, I have to say it was a long way until I got here. It was hard sometimes, but here I am. So don’t try to tell me I’m too cute to know what I want to do and where I want to be. Don’t tell me I’m too young to reach out what I can reach out. Don’t tell me women are too fragile. We have information, living expertise, and we’ve been learning every day how to improve our skills. Whoever you are, encourage women around you. Don’t tell them to stop. They won't.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Journey and Vision.

Comment on this Post


It's been a pleasure to be in contact with you! The exchange of info and supoprt are critical for the work weé been doing in our countries! Thank YOU, Sahro!!

Thank you for sharing your inspirational story, Ana! I am sure you will achieve great things on your way. From my own experience I know how important it is to encourage women around you (and to be encouraged by women around you!), to give them support and make them believe in themselves.

Thank you for all the support and beautiful words. I've been learning how to be more inspirational lately, and I have to say that's because of people like you, who are there to listen and share!

What a wonderful story! Sometimes we take a long and winding path to get to where we want to be. You have done so much already and now with writing you have found new ways to tell a very important story and participate in a very important venture. What is it you specifically want this group to know? What are the specific needs of women in Latin America? I would love to learn more about what you perceive to be the greatest barriers to women in development. I would also like to know more about how each step you took is specifically related to the next one.....it is a fascinating journey that needs to be told.

“Women have a special capacity to lead us to a more peaceful world with compassion, affection and kindness. And there is no more important time for that than this moment.” - Dalai Lama

Embodying and dedicating our energy to this good hard work gives courage to tell "them" and not have people tell you. A genuine voice for the movement is as important as what is being said. This is the message that your work inspired in me.

Chelsea Peil

Thanks Chelsea! I'm thrilled I inspired such a beautiful message on you. And I have to tell you: knowing that is such a great incentive! Thanks for letting me know that! I appreciate it!!!!