From Where I stand: “Break the stereotypes getting in the way of your dreams.”
Miriam Tawfiq, has always sought to defy traditional and cultural barriers and this saw her take on a not so conventional path into the male dominated plumbing sector. A certified plumber, she shares why she established her own plumbing business, ‘The Maximum Challenge,’ in Zarqa. Eager to empower other women entrepreneurs, Tawfiq became a professional business mentor through the ‘Mentoring for Success’ programme delivered with the generous support of the European Union Regional Trust Fund to the Syrian Crisis (the “MADAD Fund”), UN Women and Mowgli Mentoring. Through this programme, 200 Syrian and Jordanian women engaged with 360-degree mentoring, giving them the opportunity to build their confidence and enhance their professional and personal development.
I got into plumbing by chance.
I have always been driven and not confined to traditional roles, and therefore, I saw the opportunity to train as an in-house plumber as one that I would take full advantage of. Given that there are very few women in this line of work, I faced a lot of challenges. Being a woman competing in a male-dominated field was a struggle, alongside the other traditional and cultural barriers. However, I believed in my potential as a woman and as a professional to overcome these obstacles.
Women, especially in rural areas, do not always have a support system that encourages them to take up professional roles or start their own businesses. They have very few role models within their communities, and this is why women like me must hold their hands and empower them to overcome the barriers and realize their dreams. This is why I joined the mentoring programme; to support, guide, and teach my mentee throughout our eight-month journey enabling her to build her own business. During the programme we spent time reflecting on my past experiences, the successes, challenges and downfalls to effectively overcome the challenges and set goals for her now thriving business.”
Mentoring also taught me to empower other women through my experiences. I was able to not only guide my mentee but other women who reached out to me in my community. Seeing how I inspired others also gave me greater belief in my sector and the great work plumbers do. I invite women to break the barriers of fear. Break the stereotypes getting in the way of your dreams; you can do anything you put your mind to. Take the challenge and break the stereotypes.”
Miriam Tawfiq, is utilizing her experiences to break gender barriers encouraging other women to chase their own business dreams. She joined as a Mowgli Mentor to share her successes, challenges and failures to support aspiring businesswomen in establishing their own micro-businesses. Her work contributes to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as SDG 8, which aims for full and productive employment and decent work for all.