Cassie De Pecol on breaking down barriers

Cassie De Pecol is most at home on the road. A world traveller and explorer, triathlete, activist, educator and entrepreneur, she has travelled alone to 196 countries – and holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest woman to travel to all sovereign nations. As she travelled she spoke to more than 15,000 students at 41 universities discussing, amongst other things, women’s achievement.

As part of our celebrations for International Women’s Day 2017, we caught up with Cassie to find out more…

What woman do you really admire?

Amelia Earhart and her mission has always struck me to the core. She’s admirable in a way of completely disrupting the aviation industry as a woman. She had to overcome major hurdles in a “man’s world” in order to make history. In the end, she didn’t reach her goal, but she still succeeded and won.

How do you give yourself a confidence boost when you need it?

Play some good music, go for a run or lift, or practise Krav Maga. I have also recently started practising positive motivation techniques, which pretty much includes me talking to myself in front of the mirror, instead of beating myself down like I do so often, lifting myself up, sort of like a pep talk.

Read more: Gemma Cairney on opening up the feminism discussion

When have you felt proud of yourself for being bold?

Breaking down barriers with what people understand about the Middle East. By sharing the beauty and kindness of the people I’ve encountered throughout the Middle East on this expedition. I feel that I have not only a responsibility but a privilege to be able to share the truth with people who might think that this area of the world is a dangerous place.

I can be bold about that, and I’m extremely confident in my beliefs about that region of the world and the hospitality of the people. Sure, I had to face my fears and ignore all the negative media, and also reassure my parents that I’d be okay, but it ended up being a wonderfully enriching experience.

My goal is to break down barriers of limitations women face

What one thing would you most like to see change to improve gender equality in your society?

In my society, professional obstacles between men and women exist, and I’m feeling the direct effects through this expedition. Becoming the first woman on record to travel to every country in the world is a feat that until February 2nd, 2017, only men have achieved. When I set out for the record and submitted my application to Guinness World Records, about six months in, they changed the record from ‘Fastest Person’ at three years, to ‘Fastest Male’ at three years and ‘Fastest Female’ at four years, giving women more time to travel the world.

To this day, I can’t understand why women need more time to travel the world. As an advocate and leader in women’s achievement, breaking the previous men’s record in over half the time, my goal is to break down barriers of limitations women face within the workplace, or when attempting to accomplish something only men have, for that matter.

Follow us on Instagram to see more of our International Women's Day portraits and let us know which amazing women you're celebrating this week.

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