BY MICHELLE COHEN

WAS BORN IN A LOVELY TOWN OF A SMALL INSULAR COUNTRY  IN THE GREATER ANTILLES WHERE THE PACE OF LIFE TICKED  SLOWLY. At the time, Dominican Republic (DR) had 5.2 million  habitants isolated from the rest of the world, counting with very little  opportunities for growth. Specifically for us girls, the chances of  being something other than a perfect house wife was a farfetched  dream. Luckily for me, my family roots and as a Jew, helped build  up a fight against all odds, and encouraged me to become something  different.  For women, the chances to occupy a position of influence in a  country with limited education, a small economy, and virtually no  exchange with other nations were slim. The search for better education  and form part of a productive society, lead me along with my family to leave  La Vega, Dominican Republic, and move for several years to Jerusalem and the  United States.  Leaving DR helped me gain a broader perspective, learning that parameters of success  are defined by good education and extensive training. This is the foundation of who I am  today, and it also what committed me to return, motivate and expand the horizons of my  generation, so together we could make the right choices and  become a more competitive nation.  In my travels I discovered how fundamental rights play  such an important role in gaining wellness as a society.  Before graduating high school, I started writing in national  newspapers, hosted radio programs and participated in TV  shows to generate awareness and motivate my emerging  generation. In doing so, my advocacy efforts where recognized  with a National Youth Award.  I studied law with a special focus in International Relations, Human Rights and  Economic Law. My first experience in public sector was as a journalist in assistance  to the President of Dominican Republic. This experience, along with my time at the  United Nations Development Program in DR, lead me to become one of the youngest  woman diplomats, being appointed Ambassador to Multilateral Relations at the Ministry  of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic. Shortly thereafter, I was appointed  representative of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations Headquarters  in Vienna Austria, and then chairwoman of board of the Antitrust Agency.  Every member of society serves the state on way or another, but not  all are given the chance to learn and grow from their experiences  while serving. I feel privileged and honored to have been granted the  opportunity to devote my life to public service during the Dominican  Republic’s most significant stage of development and growth. It is  worth nothing, even after several decades of collective effort, few  woman leaders today occupy top influential positions in the public  sector. The political climate in Dominican Republic has not evolved  and still holds many barriers in achieving gender equality.  For us women it takes far more skills, courage, tenacity and diplomacy  to climb the corporate ladder without neglecting the female values that could  delicately transform any environment. Successful transformation in government  cannot be obtained without the presence and involvement of woman, which in the case  of DR, we represent 54% of the overall population but currently occupy 8% of the top  level cabinet position in the executive branch, 9% in Senate, 25% of the lower chamber of  congress, and less than 13% are City Mayors.  It is the combined effort and active involvement of  empowered men and women that lead communities to flourish  and nations to thrive. Even under the predominant male  leadership, woman are the largest group outside of government  responsible of driving and directing social initiatives, the  real voice in shifting the paradigm of our country. We stand  to displace clientelism in public service for attracting and  rewarding those who hold best skillset and share the common  interest to build better policies that focus on the greater good.  I am extremely passionate in finding solutions to improve the opportunities my  generation has in our country. The political stakeholders talk a great talk about great  potential, but do not take actions to inspire and engage capable, educated, and motivated  woman, or even men, to carry out the change required to build a prosperous society. I  am always ready to move forward, never backwards, not even to leverage an impulse. My  hope is to find a way to work together, let’s start now. 

For us women it takes far more skills, courage, tenacity and diplomacy  to climb the corporate ladder without neglecting the female values that could  delicately transform any environment ffffffffff

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