Challenging the status quo
According to the United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affair, women held only 28% of managerial positions globally in 2019 and only 18% of enterprises surveyed had a female Chief Executive Officer in 2020. To better understand such statics Strathmore University Business School (SBS) held a webinar on March 10, 2021. This was in line with the International Women’s day theme dubbed “Choose to Challenge”. To further examine how we can all challenge for the greater good were Mr. Peter Nduati – Founder and CEO – Resolution Group ltd, Molly Rwigamba – Managing partner at RR associates and Director of KCB Bank Rwanda Ltd and Dr. Gladwell Kiarie – Medical Oncologist at Nairobi and MP Shah Hospitals. The keynote speaker was Her Excellency Ms. Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba – Ambassador of Botswana to Germany. The event was moderated by Seema Desouza – Deputy Director of Customer experiences at the NCBA group.
Why are there fewer women in positions of leadership?
According to Ambassador. Mmasekgoa, the “perfection gene” is holding back and delaying the progression of many women. She explained that many women seek a more polished self, unlike men who tend to dive in and learn on the go. Dr. Kiarie shared that we need to use our failures as experiences and move on. Camping in what went wrong will not get us to leadership. So take up ownership of your failures and stop blame games. Another is the conflict between the head and the heart. Many women question whether they are good enough or too ambitious. Instead, we need to change the focus to be the best that we can in every opportunity that we seek. As Ms. Desouza emphasized, it matters that we deliver because the outcomes are factual and prove that you can do it and do it very well.
How can we challenge the norm?
According to Molly, we need to be purposeful in creating opportunities for other women as Serena Williams once said “every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another. We’re strongest when we cheer each other.” Secondly, we need to internalize what it is that we want to achieve. This will help us be more knowledgeable and vast when it comes to being in a leadership position. Thirdly, be bold and unapologetic. Carrying a child for nine months or raising a family should not hold you back from reaching your goals. Speak up and be understood. Fourthly, have a support system and seek leverage from those close to us, for instance, family, mentors, and coaches. They are the wind underneath wings when you need to soar.
May we all never forget the women that paved way for such platforms and the sacrifices they made. Choosing to challenge is a journey and we hope the conversation does not end here. As Mr. Nduati shared in his parting shot we need to challenge ourselves, then challenge what we know but above all, we need to keep an emotional connection with others that way we are more emphatic because the days of command and control are gone.
This article was written by Annete Karanja.
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