In the dynamic world, a transformative narrative is unfolding: young women are ascending to leadership positions. This is fueled by a mentorship program providing more than just guidance but also a network of support.
Concrete actions of training and advocacy are forging a path where young women command the helm in leadership positions and decision-making roles.
The 2022 UN Report on Women’s Leadership and Political Participation highlights a pervasive issue of women’s underrepresentation at every tier of decision-making across the globe.
In Africa, the report estimates that only 21% of women hold leadership roles, highlighting the pressing need for increased representation.
Prompted by this revelation, the Emerging Public Leaders Foundation organized a webinar, emphasizing the significance of increased women’s representation in leadership within the public sector.
The webinar aimed to showcase successful young women leaders, fostering positive role models and addressing the hurdles and opportunities they face.
Abigail Kajuma, Executive Director of Emerging Public Leaders, took the helm as the moderator for the webinar. In initiating the dialogue, she emphasized that the necessity to elevate young women in leadership is rooted in the undeniable advantages of diversity globally.
Kajuma underscored that placing young women in leadership positions serves as a catalyst for transformative change. She further articulated that their presence in positions of power amplifies voices and reshapes the narrative surrounding gender equality.
In her opening statements, Nduulwa Kowa, Associate Director at Agenda, highlighted that organizations are actively introducing initiatives such as mentorship programs to empower young women in their journey towards leadership roles.
“Mentorship programs serve as pivotal catalysts propelling women toward leadership excellence. Additionally, the deliberate inclusion of young women in leadership roles, coupled with the implementation of supportive policies, constitutes tangible practices that encourage and inspire women to actively participate in leadership positions.”
James Kiawoin, Country manager at Luminous Fund, echoed her sentiments, emphasizing that providing women the opportunity to voice their opinions can instigate positive change in workplaces, as they bring valuable contributions. He underscored the importance of dispelling the perception that women are solely there to support men, advocating for their inclusion at decision-making tables.
Esther Spio, Budget Analyst at the Ministry of Finance, Ghana, emphasized that the current moment is an opportune time to empower young women in leadership roles, noting their eagerness and determination to reshape the future
“This push to elevate young women into leadership positions comes at a pivotal moment. As the world evolves, the need for diverse and inclusive leadership has reached its peak. This is not just a moment in time but a movement reshaping the future.” She emphasized, “Everyone is recognizing their potential to infuse innovation and resilience into leadership roles including government entities. We believe in their potential to take charge.”
Patience Nyange, Executive Director AMWIK, in her remarks, highlighted that mentorship programs connect young women with seasoned leaders, offering guidance and support for them to flourish professionally.
“Seasoned leaders mentor young people to navigate the challenges of leadership, and show them the essence of being in the leadership positions. Their support instil confidence in their capabilities, contributing to the breakdown of preconceived notions about the roles women can play in professional settings.”
“Female role models contribute to a cultural shift in organizations and industries. Their presence challenges institutionalized biases and fosters a more inclusive and equitable work environment, promoting diversity as a core value where young women can flourish.’ She added.
The webinar underscored the importance of the positive impacts within organizations. Advocating for gender quality and cultivating an inclusive environment that propels young women towards leadership is important for driving change and fostering progress.
By Priscillah Kaigai, AMWIK Member