In our 5 Minutes With… series, we’re speaking to remarkable women about their career highlights, challenges, who they admire and advice they have for other women.
In this edition of 5 Minutes With…, we’re featuring Ana Candida Perez, the Consul-General of Brazil. We were fortunate to host her at Navigating Borders: Women on the International Stage event on October 19. Read on!
My biggest career challenge was: At a certain point in my career, I had two small children, I was studying for a Master’s in International Relations, working at the Brazilian Permanent Mission at the United Nations in Geneva – and then I got pregnant. So I had children, another on the way, while studying and trying to manage my normal workload. When you work at United Nations, there are meetings that go until midnight. So to juggle all this was probably the most challenging time I’ve experienced.
My advice to young professionals is: Women should not feel intimidated when working in “men’s clubs”, such as the Foreign Ministry of Brazil. They should have lots of solidarity with each other and organize themselves in order to impose a gender favourable agenda. I think that we should politely, diplomatically, be assertive and pugnacious.
My career highlight was: Acting as the Ambassador to Brazil in Nigeria, which was an important posting for us, because it is one of the most important countries in Africa for Brazil, both economically and politically. At the same time, the conditions there are quite challenging, especially as a women. It’s about 50% muslim country, and muslim traditions can in some ways limit the role of women in public life.
What I like most about my current job is: That I do very concrete things that produce immediate results. For example, if you work in a consulate, you have to work with the citizens to solve their problems. We have people who need to be visited in prison, to get married, to get a birth certificate or a passport, to get help because they are ill and need to go to a Chinese hospital where they don’t speak the language. Or we meet business people who need to meet their Chinese counterparts.because we do very concrete things. I love this job, because it’s not just normal diplomatic function of political representation and we don’t see the immediate result of what you’re doing. Consular work is, I realize now, very effective.
The career woman I admire is: I admire the Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She has a conference called “We should all be feminists”, which was also made into a book. I also admire Hillary Clinton!
I am passionate about: Environmental issues and protecting endangered species.
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