“Don’t expect the field to be equal – you have to make it equal”


Barriers to education, Girls' education, International Women's Day, Right to education, Technology and education

Theirworld is marking International Women’s Day 2017 on March 8 by talking to inspiring women from across the globe. Read the full series here.

Shanyn Ronis is the founder and Executive Director of E-Gap (Education Global Access Program), which trains teachers to deal with children affected by trauma. She was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Education list of 2017.

Shanyn was also given the Gifted Citizen Award in 2015 for her work in international education. Her works are published in the Huffington Post, Devex and the World Post and she has a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.

Who inspired you when you were younger? And who inspires you now?

As a child I watched a lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I was inspired by Captain Picard, who I saw as the ultimate adventurer and leader. I wanted some day to lead a team of my own on cosmic adventures. 

Now I am inspired by my mother who has worked hard every day of her life to raise and educate my three siblings and me. 

Now that I’ve started my own family I can see that motherhood is a hard and often thankless job. I don’t think she’s ever received the appreciation she deserves.

What challenges did you have to overcome to get where you are today?

I graduated from college in 2011 which meant I entered the workforce right in the middle of a recession. Student loans meant I had to take whatever job I could find.

Because I was young and inexperienced people assumed I was best suited to work as an assistant on easy tasks that, at the end of the day, left me entirely unfulfilled. 

I’ve never been a social butterfly and didn’t participate in the office gossip at lunch. Frankly, I was bored to tears. 

I overcame this challenge by volunteering and taking on side jobs that I could work on during the day. I started my own nonprofit in 2013 and haven’t been bored since.

What’s the best advice someone has ever given you? And what advice do you have for young girls and women?

The best advice I’ve ever been given is this: don’t let yourself be intimated by the success of others. Success is a combination of luck, persistence, and the willingness to try new things. 

There’s no reason you can’t be just as successful as others so long as you refuse to see failure as an option.

My advice for other young girls and women: don’t expect the field to be equal. You have to make it equal. Be stubborn about your success.

What has been your biggest achievement in life so far?

I joined the Forbes 30 under 30 class of 2017 for my work in international education.

What skills or attributes do you think women bring to the workplace?

Grit is by far the best attribute that women bring to the workplace. Grit means being willing to work hard in the face of adversity and to persevere through hardship.

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