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"To all the young women I advise to be prepared with skills to face all the challenges of today’s world. The same skills will match the same opportunities, and this allows us to conduct our lives in all possible directions."

"Believe in yourself, in your instinct. Believe in who you are, never doubt yourself just because you are a woman. I have followed closely the negotiations leading to the Iran Nuclear deal in 2015 and was always amazed watching our EU 'women' diplomats negotiating. They were meticulous, professional, persistent, resilient negotiators and inspiring diplomats."

"I was lucky to work for a director who once talked and played with my 3-year-old daughter whilst I was finalising a document for the Council but I also knew another director who didn’t accept my request for two-days leave when my 7-year-old son underwent surgery. Women are too often considered in function of a quality matrix applied by and to men. Men and women are equal, should be considered so, not identical. Women’s identity should be better recognised, so our world can walk on both its feet."

"During my first interview for a job, the boss of the company asked me if I had the intention to have kids. I was young and single, and my reply was: ‘Not for the moment, but yes. I hope it will happen’. I got offended at first. Almost humiliated. But then I thought that it was him humiliating himself with that question. By the way, I got the job and I had two kids a few years later."

"I often find myself in a situation where young ladies ask me how I got there, sometimes very young… Our EUDEL driver's 4 year-old-daughter could not believe that her dad's boss could be a woman, so that one day our driver took her to our offices to meet with me. It was amazing seeing her eyes grow as big as two apples on her face when she saw me."

"The professional world likes to think of itself as masculine, but it is not. You also have your place there as a woman. But we're going to have to work hard at it and better than anyone else. A position, a situation or a diploma does not define you. But your choices define you and say more about you than you will ever say."

"You have to learn to manage setbacks. To fail and rise again. With a smile. You also need to learn to make your point, to get your voice heard, particularly important for women. And yes, as many other women with family – and fortunately now also more and more men – I have suffered from a culture of long working hours, late meetings or after-work socialisation around glasses of wine that help build networks, but is often in competition with family time."

"It is very difficult to combine a young child and a full-time job. I fully understand why some young mothers feel discouraged to work full time or to take any additional, more challenging responsibilities. Luckily, our society and the employers have become more tolerant and flexible, and from year to year it becomes easier to combine a job and a family life. There is definitely a positive tendency and I hope it will continue."

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