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Oyinda Bishi: Each for Equal – An elusive promised land?

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Oyinda Bishi - Marketing Professional and D&I advocate.

Oyinda Bishi – Marketing Professional and D&I advocate

As a strong advocate for women in any sphere of life, I grew up in Nigeria in a family of many brothers – I was very lucky to have a father who was an unashamed feminist that believed people generally should be free to chart their course in life and women especially should be able to decide and undecide what their life should look like and that has fueled my passion and self-belief to no end. Now as a mother of 3 daughters – that grit is amplified a million-fold especially in the world today.

The theme for IWD2020 – Each for Equal embodies how we must celebrate and appreciate our differences (whatever they may be) – as well as the ability to disallow our bias of the said differences to cloud our judgement of one another.

Sadly, the reality is far from this. A recent article by Oxfam reveals that even though women make up 75% of the world’s workforce working two thirds of the global working hours – they only earn 10% of the world’s income. More shockingly;

– Women own less than 1% of the world’s property. – 60% of the world’s chronically hungry are women and girls.

– Two-thirds of all children denied school are girls, and 75 per cent of the world’s 876 million illiterate adults are women.

– Women hold only 21 per cent of the world’s parliamentary seats, and only 8 percent of the world’s cabinet ministers are women.

– Only 46 countries have met the UN target of 30 percent female decision-makers.

In my opinion, charity begins at home, little girls need to grow up in an environment that empowers them from a very young age, an environment that imbibes a ‘can do’ mentality. An environment that is devoid of barriers or stereotypical gender roles. We all know that ‘children can only aspire to what they know exists’ so the presence of female role models is key. Women leading organisations, in male dominated careers, having successful careers whilst raising their family and many more scenarios are needed to reinforce this messaging.

Also, with recent studies showing that it would take 100 years for gender parity to be achieved globally – we need to turn the spotlight on companies of every size. Companies have to be intentional about effecting changes within their talent pipeline – recruiting more women, training and developing women via specific programmes and having a more robust and gender balanced succession planning strategy. Companies must realise that achieving gender equality is a commitment and not a game of numbers or tokenism.

The government also has a role to play as I believe all hands have to be on deck to achieve this goal. In the UK, The Equality Act 2010(Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 requires all private and public organisations with 250 employees or more to publish data on their gender pay gap with the first reports shared in 2018. This is an example of holding companies accountable and confronting them with the realities of their albeit unintentional practices. More countries need to follow suit.

Each for Equal is the theme of IWD 2020 and while it is a laudable step to shine the light on this burning platform, the onus is on all of us – parents, teachers, carers, employers and the government to be relentlessly united in achieving equality for all in every sphere of life.

Also Read: Women in Tech: Interview With Anna Collard, Founder Popcorn Training – A KnowBe4 Company

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Africa speaks

Cynthia M. Wright: Thoughts on IWD 2020 – Each for Equal

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Cynthia Musafili Wright

Leading with inordinate authenticity as a substitute for the adoption of personalities basing on other’s expectations might crack more governance potentiality in women and, at the same time, hasten their influences within their respective organizations, according to the United Nations. If women are not authentic in society and at the same time are not recognized, appreciated, and respected,most would want to do what is required of them to perform and succeed in most departments.

Additionally, in case the political/ competitive societal behavior is harmful, women might be forced to be something that they are not leading to gender mainstream issues. Hence, women might feel unworthy and unsustainable to do what they have to do for authentic leadership. Men, on the other hand, when asked to comment about their level of authenticity, might assert that being authentic is not a perfect ideal or acceptable in the society/ workplace.

In the contemporary out weighed male society, women have struggled to be authentic. Women have to conform to the societal principles and femininity to fit into society without seeming masculine. The discord of upholding such a sweet spot is hard and more draining for women. Women can, therefore, flourish in a male subjugated culture. However, it comes with enormous emotional and psychological costs. Women must nurture a compelling, authentic, and feminine societal presence.

Also Read: Women in Tech: Interview With Ellen Fischat, Founder Story Room and Inspiring Fifty SA Ambassador

In simpler terms, women must focus on their strengths if they want to cultivate authentic leadership and not copy what men do to make their presence seen. Authentic leadership,powered by a commanding purpose,assists other leaders (men and women) in inspiring others. Both men and women can display dominant and authentic leadership ideologies. The promotion of feminine authentic leadership doctrines must not be regarded as a male-female issue. It is all about whether society overlooks certain physiognomies vital in navigating global and

communal/ societal challenges. Highly authentic leaders can also articulate their life choices, for instance, work-life balance, bearing children, freeing oneself out of bad situations, managing their careers, and setting their financial goals. When women can effectively manage these life goals, authentic leadership qualities often emanate among them. Highly authentic women leaders determinedly design their personal lives according to their top-most life precedence.

“If they can’t lift you. They can’t drop you. Step into your power” (The Purposeful Leader – 10 Steps to Becoming the Leader You are Born to Be – On Amazon) There are four significant strategies women can apply to lead authentically. Women must increase their self-awareness. Increasing self-awareness is one vital component of acting authentically. It also makes women acceptable and trusted with leadership positions. Once women know their strengths and values, they must adequately assess and also evaluate themselves and pinpoint what is best for them.

After evaluating themselves, women must take action, starting with smaller steps and slowly integrate the values that align with their values and behaviours. Getting support from men helps in personal development among women and the promotion of gender equality in society. Developing authentic leadership qualities requires risks and women having faith in their judgments. When in power, women must also avoid acting like men as it makes them lose their authenticity. Trusting in their talents and abilities is what makes women authentic leaders.

Women must not be overjoyed by the powers granted to them while in leadership positions. They must make judgments and act beyond the societal stereotypes to pave the way for other young leaders after them to see them as authentic leaders. They can do this by creating gender equality programs to help upcoming women leaders know their worth in the society.Women in leadership positions must also have a personal social responsibility to create and motivate other leaders. They must immediately start capitalizing on their instant successors so that we can create a ripple effect.

Leadership must be quantifiable, and one effective way to do so is the creation of a more authentic leader. They also need to exhibit the qualities that made earn those positions. That is what makes gender equality in leadership more sustainable.

Article By: Cynthia Musafili Wright, A speaker, Author, Entrepreneur, Aged Care Clinical Consultant and Philanthropist.

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Africa speaks

Oyetola Oduyemi: Thoughts on IWD 2020 – Each for Equal

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Oyetola Oduyemi, Executive Director at tengvoX Consulting

Each for equal to me means – Acceptance. Fairness. Partnership. Support. Giving opportunities along lines of competence, skills, interest, desire, ability. Not gender or race or tribe, or any divides irrelevant, or that should be irrelevant, to the pivotal task of nation-building that we have at hand.

Parts make up the whole. When some parts are prevented from performing their roles, or are rendered ineffective and can only perform sub optimally, the state of ‘wholeness’ will never be achieved. When the human population takes away the opportunities for women to contribute to advancement – of communities, countries, continents, and the planet, due to fears, insecurities, cultural history, ignorance, and stereotypes; we will never achieve the level of development needed to propel us forward as a people. We need to support one another, to achieve our goals of sustainable progress.

Changes I want to see

Do not underestimate, or ignore the potential of women. Nor should anyone be threatened by this. We need less competition and more collaboration unhindered by gender lines.

One company adopted the pose of a man and a woman combining to strike the #eachforequal pose. This resonated strongly with me because it spoke of partnership, alliance, cooperation of all; each gender- man and woman, collectively taking a stand for equality. This is what we need – to collaboratively create a gender equal world, free from labels and preconceptions.

Also Read: Women in Tech: Interview With Ellen Fischat, Founder Story Room and Inspiring Fifty SA Ambassador

To the women, I applaud us. Our uniqueness, strength, and drive. And I encourage us to not give in or give up. When faced with existent discrimination, we have two choices. The injustice of being treated and viewed with prejudice can be demoralizing, but as women we must stay strong and motivated. Make the choice to drive gender parity, be letting all see that we are not only capable, we are indeed invaluable. Let us choose to stay present, and give our best.Not just for ourselves, but also for generations of women to come.

Visit: tengvoX Consulting

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Africa speaks

Bukola Bankole: Thoughts on IWD 2020 – Each For Equal

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Bukola Bankole Partner, TNP

International Women’s Day is a day of reflection and celebration of everything we’ve achieved especially over the past century. This year’s theme #EachForEqual is about equality. There has been an uprising in recent times about the need for constructive inclusiveness of women in all aspects of human life.

What does this really mean? – it means eradicating all forms of double standard against women, putting an end to marginalization for no reason other than gender. Women around the world have exhibited what would happen if the standards are as favorable to us as it has always been for the men folk!

I’m a firm believer that our collective wisdom and strength has the power to transform every aspect of suffering in the world. The theme #EachForEqual, is drawn from the idea of “collective individualism”. Our individual actions, conversations, behaviors and mindset have an impact on our larger society and collectively, we can take away the gender stigmatization, change the narrative and create a gender equal world. Because, an equal world is an enabled world.

Let’s not forget, equality in so many ways must start with respect. So, I want to see a world where women are championed, a world where we celebrate women and girls just as much as we celebrate men and boys, where we are given the same opportunities, a world where men celebrate our achievements, our triumphs and our successes.

This, is the agenda. It’s in pushing for gender equality in the boardroom, in government, in the media, at the workplace, in investments, in health and even more in wealth. Equality is everyone’s business, each one of us has an important role to play in making this a reality. It remains our duty as a modern society to respect one another and to foster a culture in which each individual is respected and supported to thrive, regardless of gender.

Also Read: Women in Tech: Interview With Ellen Fischat, Founder Story Room and Inspiring Fifty SA Ambassador

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