#IWD2021: With ‘Let Her Lead’, the Kandifo Institute is empowering women to be leaders

Bridget Akua BOATENG

“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a Woman”- Margaret Thatcher. Women are the bedrock of nations and backbone of the family. Women bring life into the world. March 8 of every year is a day set aside to celebrate women’s achievements in the economic, political and social spheres.

This gives the world an opportunity to celebrate the successes and strides women have achieved. International Women’s day is an opportune time to reflect on progress made, to call for change, and to as well celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their communities and the country as a whole.

The first International Women’s Day occurred in 1911. This day set aside to celebrate women grew out of efforts in the early 20th century to promote the rights of women. Much progress has been made to protect and promote women’s rights in recent times.

For 100 years, International Women’s Day has been celebrated worldwide to commemorate women, their struggles as well as their achievements. This day was first observed by Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Denmark in 1911; and Russia started celebrating women on this day in 1913. This day has become a national holiday in about 27 countries in the world.

The greatest resources we have are creativity, human ingenuity and innovation – which are all embodied in women who are making a difference across the world. Women each day work to solve the biggest challenges. It is because of their many contributions that the world is a better place today.

Women in recent times are flourishing in business and becoming more powerful in business, entertainment, politics and other areas. Gone are the days when the only place a woman could and would be was the kitchen.

In recent times, women are taking over the world and venturing into the formerly male-dominated fields.  Since 2015, the number of women with senior leadership places in business has grown; and as we know, diversity of leadership is good for business. Even beyond leaders, female leaders from across the globe are working together to find new solutions to the world’s biggest problems. Gone are the days when it was believed that women were not strong enough to work the land, or were ill-suited for finance, negotiation or decision-making.

In recent times, many women multi-task as wives, mothers, CEOs and business managers. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala emerges as the first woman and African to lead the World Trade Organisation as Director-General; Kamala Harris has also made history as the first woman to take up the Vice-president position in the USA; Chimamanda Adichie of Nigeria has been described by Forbes as a woman who has been able to dissect, shape and create social dialogues across the globe; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first woman president in Liberia; Gloria Akuffo was also Attorney-General of Ghana and Minister for Justice; Patricia Obo-Nai is also the female CEO of Vodafone Ghana.

We can go on and on with the names of women taking over the world. As of October 2019, the global participation rate of women in national-level parliaments was 24.5%; and in 2013 women accounted for 8% of all national leaders and 2% of all presidential posts. 75% of all female prime ministers and presidents have taken office in the past two decades. 87% of global mid-market companies had at least one woman in a senior management role in 2020. There are 33.1% of women who are senior managers, 30.0% Executive managers, 30.2% key management personnel and 17.1% are CEOs or Heads of Business.

The UN has announced the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day as ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’. This theme, according to the United Nations, is going to celebrate the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Women stood on the front-lines when the coronavirus pandemic broke out. They served as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, community organisers and as some of the most exemplary and effective national leaders in combatting the pandemic.

Through this crisis, we have been able to see the centrality of women’s contributions – and also the disproportionate burdens that women carry. Women leaders and women’s organisations demonstrated their skills, knowledge and networks to effectively lead in COVID-19 responses and recovery efforts.

Now, there is more acceptance than ever being shown that women bring different experiences, perspectives and skills to the table, and also make irreplaceable contributions to decisions, policies and laws which better suits everyone – be it a child, a boy, a girl or a man. Our world would be a very boring one without women in it. We have about 20 countries with women as heads of state worldwide.

As part of Kandifo Institute’s Initiative, there’s the ‘Let her Lead Initiative’. Under this initiative, we seek to move conversations of Women Empowerment and Feminism toward the adequate acquisition of skills which provide opportunity for women to serve in Leadership. We love to see women take up leadership roles and work so hard to ensure that the society is a better place to be. We recognise and appreciate the tremendous and wonderful things women have done and are still doing for their families, societies and countries to have a better world to live in.

We would like to use this medium to congratulate all the women in this world for being all the superwomen we could ever wish for. Women are the reason why we are what we are today, and we acknowledge your tremendous contributions to our societies, countries and the world at large. God bless all women! Happy International Women’s Day!!

>>> the writer is a graduate from the Ghana institute of Journalism where she studied Journalism, and is currently on national service assignment at the Kandifo Institute as a researcher. She is passionate about solving problems in society. [email protected]

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