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International Women’s Day – March 08 – What It Means to Me

Written by Taka, MBA

Another opportunity is here, to advocate for women in leadership positions and for gender equality

Despite the emphasis on gender equality it’s still happening at a very slow pace. We live in a world that is largely dominated by men and this makes it difficult for women to exercise authority, real control, and power in their domain as compared to their male counter parts. The question remains if women are still stereotyped in the work place or if women need to be given a voice for expression.

My thoughts

The workplace is predominantly male-populated and managed, this tends to result in conscious or unconscious discrimination against women based on stereotypical assumptions about female behaviour. A 2017 McKinsey survey showed that nearly 50% of men think that women are “well represented” in a scenario where just one in ten senior leaders is female.

Although, I’m of a strong opinion that women already have a voice, their voice needs to be amplified so that their ideas and suggestions can be heard and understood. Some men are genuinely committed to gender equality, and such men should be actively enlightened on gender intelligence to help amplify women’s voice.

However, the aspect of women improving on their skills and expertise to add more value in the work place and effectively function in leadership positions cannot be overemphasised. Aside from that, there is an urgent need for women already in leadership positions to use their professional network to reach out and mentor other women aspiring to get into leadership positions. Studies show that women do not fulfil their full potential in the corporate world due to insufficient mentors. This therefore places a responsibility on women leaders like me who have overcome many hurdles in our career to help emerging women scale the glass ceiling quicker and more smoothly.

I believe that universities and other institutions of learning have a crucial role to play in the advancement of women attaining leadership positions by helping to shift the mindset of people to enable them think differently and provide opportunities for empowering women. Though there are a lot of milestones to be crossed, Newcastle University so far has done well in recognising Women in Leadership which can be justified by the fact that the business school is currently led by a female director Professor Sharon Mavin.

Also, as the recipient of the “Women in Leadership” Scholarship, I feel saddled with the responsibility to uplift emerging women. The scholarship award comes with a one-year mentorship which has been very beneficial to me. My MBA programme, the Business School’s Leadership Series, and real-life engagement with the business world have all enabled me to further develop my leadership traits and management skills, and enhanced my personal and professional transformation.

In this age of global connectivity where the world has become one big community, all working women irrespective of their corporate level should come together to inspire one another. Women in Leadership positions can help to empower other women by advocating for policies that would reflect a workplace that works for everyone. This will help younger women to climb the corporate ladder more smoothly. Women should be acknowledged and appreciated for their contributions.

7 thoughts on “International Women’s Day – March 08 – What It Means to Me

  1. Totally agree with this! Women need to support one another. There is also an need to continuously educate all, both male and female employees on how gender bias hinders the growth of women in the workplace.

    Well written Taka Kpanja! Really inspiring write up

  2. I completely agree that women needs to be mentored and aspire be occupy not just positions but sensitive ones. Recent survey carried out pointed that women would play better role in peace and conflict resolutions also in nation building.

  3. This is great Taka! I thank you for sharing this and giving us, all women in the business school particularly, a voice to express this.
    I’m happy for all your achievements, keep it up! 🙂

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