Fatima Sator

Fatima Sator

Communication Specialist at United Nations OCHA | Researcher | TEDx speaker

I have chosen to influence through academia by conducting a research on the origins of gender equality in the United Nations. I believe education is the most effective way to empower and impact. As a Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), I had the opportunity to speak at more than 10 conferences, deliver a TEDx talk and be the main character of an HBO documentary to be showcased in 2020.

Feminism has no gender, religion, background or origin: it is simply believing in equality.

I started researching what were the origins of gender equality in international documents such as the UN Charter. I found out, while looking into archives, that if it wasn’t for women from Latin America (identifying themselves as women from the “Global South”) we wouldn’t have got gender equality in the UN Charter. I started advocating for those women (Bertha Lutz and Minerva Bernardino) to be known, as their names have been ignored in history books. The research got a lot of interest and led me to have articles, portrait in the media, to speak on radio and to speak at conferences, schools and public events. The channel HBO also contacted us to produce a documentary about our research (my partner and I).

I faced challenges in terms of credibility and to get impact. People were seeing me first as a “young female academician” and didn’t trust I had the knowledge and the capacity to lead such a research. I had two challenges: being a woman in a political mostly male-dominated environment and being young.

There are many achievements I can think of:

- Getting Bertha Lutz’s name known
- Changing Brazilian diplomacy books for them to include Bertha Lutz’ story
- Creation of Bertha Lutz’ prize
- HBO documentary about my research
- Articles in more than 25 media
- Nominated as one of the 100 most influential people in francophone Switzerland
- TEDx speaker

The area of diplomacy is under-researched. Additionally few women research in diplomacy. I’d encourage more academic research in this way. Challenges might be for women to impact with their academic research. A lot of them don’t look for their academic research to leave the little academia bubble. But advocacy should be done for those researches to get visibility and impact a wider public.

I’d recommend to all women conducting academic research to reach out to the global public (through traditional media, networks and social media) to get their research known to a non-specialized public.

Academia can be very powerful and political. I can shape the way we look at the world.

Women in academia are true inspirational figures. They can use their area of research to shape the way we think, bring important issues up in the international agenda and play a role of role model. They will inspire hundreds of other women to follow them.

We need to rethink traditional gender stereotypes: leadership, entrepreneurship, power, influence shouldn’t be associated to masculinity. Women need to be at the table not only as participants but as decisions makers.

Within the community, having a “sisterhood” network is tremendously helpful to lift each other up.