‘The girl child is worth banking on’

Advocate Pria Hassan received a Bharat Gaurav Award

Advocate Pria Hassan received a Bharat Gaurav Award

Published Jun 8, 2024


ADVOCATE Pria Hassan once worked as a truck driver at night and studied law in the day. When she received a Bharat Gaurav Award on Wednesday in the French Senate in Paris, France, for excelling in her field, it was the culmination of a long journey.

From an early age, Hassan knew she was not a follower but a trendsetter.

“I wanted to convince the world that the girl child was worth banking on and shift my family away from thinking that as women your ambition should not just be to marry and have children,” said Hassan of La Lucia Ridge

Her dream was also to contribute to eradicating poverty and driving the economy; to create business opportunities.

She was born in Overport, Durban, and matriculated at Overport Secondary School. Hassan said she was “exceptionally” outspoken and strived to do her best throughout school and university.

She was the head of the debating team, leader in all the sporting clubs and houses, lead actress in all her school plays, a champion for career guidance for youth, and represented her school and university in various ways.

Hassan was - and still is - “fearless, confident and outspoken” having been awarded multiple local and international awards for her contribution to the energy, construction, engineering and legal sectors among others.

Careerwise, Hassan had always wanted to be part of the legal fraternity.

“I was probably around 13 when I decided on a career. I felt that in order to get your view across and to get people to follow you, there had to be integrity. For me a solid foundation in the legal system gave me the edge.

“I knew then that this required a proper education of not just South African law but global policy. My career choice never wavered. I didn't have doubts, so it became part of a vision that I started living.”

And being a fan of the American legal drama television series, LA Law, further fuelled her choice.

Hassan studied at the Durban University of Natal (now the University of KwaZulu-Natal) and attained her LLB degree in the 1990s. She later attended the University of Pretoria as well as the Gordon Institute of Business Science.

She is the founder and CEO of the Women of Africa (WOA) Group; a women-driven service provider in the petroleum, pharmaceutical, construction, logistics and energy sectors. She is also a property, logistics and legal expert, and has held executive positions in several JSE-listed companies.

Hassan, who is part of the South African Women’s Forte, said she started WOA in 2005 to create gender inclusivity.

“Early on, the business world worried me. Women were marginalised. In fact, I knew that I also needed money to change the world. So even when you are that young, you look at all the hurdles you need to cross to achieve anything. I made a list. I still do, even now, and I work diligently through this. The aim is to show anything is possible.

“These days, I think it is vitally important that the finance sector steps up to the plate and offers more women in business sound financial backing. There needs to be a change in policy in the way banking institutions view us. We are worthy of being underwritten.”

Hassan said she was humbled and honoured to receive the award.

“I accepted the award acknowledging the collective contributions of women entrepreneurs worldwide. I will use this award to illuminate the path for other women, drive transformation and forge a legacy of empowerment for the business world.”

The categories for the awards comprise spirituality, film, art, literature, fashion and business; and the awardees are from 18 countries including India, the United States, Britain and Singapore.


Related Topics: