The International Women Empowerment Conference began with an introduction and a word of welcome and summary purpose of gathering from CP Jjulia Gangwani – convener of Women in Rotary International (WIRI) and Baptista S. Gebu – the Ghana WIRI Coordinator and District 9102 Vocational Training Teams Chair (VTTC). This conference was rolled out under the theme – “the global recession – imagine the role of women in rotary to managing it”.
This virtual session was organized by WIRI and Rotary International District (RID) 9102 Vocational Training Teams and supported by RIDs 3011, 3300, 3262 and 7620 as well as other WIRI coordinators and held via zoom with participants joining from over 19 different countries.
The conference had the likes of Trustee Geeke Manek and Past Rotary International Director (PRID) Kamal Sanghvi in charge of the Rotary Foundation and membership respectively from Rotary International (RI) joining as special guests and District Governors (DG) Victor Yaw Asante of RID9102, Ashok Kantoor of RID3011, District Governor Elect Jayashree Mohanty of RID 3262, and Immediate Past District Governor Dato Bindi of RID3300 as well as Rotarian Dr. Sam Hancook of RID 7620 as conference panelists.
Discussing the role of women in managing the global recession as well as service projects initiatives to propose to clubs and other stakeholders the session panelist had this to say; Women need a lot of inspiration and motivation and the participation of women in the economy and trade has a significant impact on country’s gross domestic product. Women make up half of the global population but only contribute to 37 percent of the global GDP and a gender equal economy would add as much as $12 trillion to annual global GDP by 2025. Reason we need to empower women.
Trustee Geeta was very happy to see all participants connecting from different parts of the world and requested women to open the door for other women, promote social protection and work to invest in businesses as a result of the recession. During recession she mentioned; as much as twice of women leave their jobs if not fired, as such giving women the opportunity needed and making deliberate attempts to provide benefits aside their salaries, advocating for social protection for these women will go a long way to support economic recovery efforts and empower women. Most women are afraid of failure and must be encouraged and supported to still stand out. Women right is necessary for peace and prosperity she added.
WIRI advisor PRID Kamal celebrated all exceptional women and requested all present make a pledge to carry at least three other women the rippling-effect at the end will help create the world we want with empowered women. To this end, he added though the popular saying of “behind every successful man is a woman” could see us also adding that, we now need to see a world where every successful woman is seen carrying three more other women.
He called on women to be bold enough to come forward and grab opportunities that come their way and stop being hindrance to their own self. To support women in times of recession we need to support provide their needs. Projects managing malnutrition for children and women should be prioritized including vocational and literacy service projects he added especially for countries like Russia and Ukraine due to the ongoing war he added.
DG Victor Yaw Asante of RID9102 explained during recession due to the prolong downturn in economic activity women and children suffer most. On recommendations for service project initiatives to roll out he suggested projects that support financial inclusion, women in agriculture, technology access, policy advocacy on thematic issues as well as capacity building projects for women. DG Ashok of RID3011 advised on getting all our children also empowered as well as support for vocational services projects to be rolled out. Dr. Sam Hancook touched on WASH projects as issues of water, sanitation and hygiene must be equally prioritized.
DGE Jayashree and IDPG Dato addressed issues of women under representation and called for change to this status quo. The session ended with a call on women to go for opportunities, feel empowered, be each other’s keeper and carry other women on their back to create the world we want.
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