First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo has stressed the need for women to be allowed to occupy leadership positions in corporate entities for economic turnaround.
According to her, such opportunities did not only serve the interest of companies but the nation as a whole as “companies with female leadership tend to do better in many respects”.
“It is clear that gender balance in business can’t be purely a diversity issue. It’s an economic issue and addressing it can benefit business and economic performance, thereby impacting all stakeholders,” she stressed.
Mrs Akufo-Addo made the call on Friday when she hosted about 400 Ghanaian women to an awards event to mark International Women’s Day (IWD).
Held on the theme, ‘Balance for better’, the ceremony recognised contributions of some distinguished women in diverse sectors including education, health, social entrepreneurship, agriculture, advocacy and inclusion, arts and culture, innovation and outstanding leadership.
It also outdoored about 20 female mentors to provide skills training and mentorship to some young ladies from the Accra municipality as part of the First Lady’s ‘Because I want to be’ initiative in partnership with UNFPA.
The First Lady encouraged women pioneers in the corporate and business world to share principles and best practices with younger women climbing the corporate ladder to maintain highest standards.
“To balance for better, we must continue to develop male leaders as advocates and allies for their female counterparts, by sharing the strong business case for empowering women. We must build support networks for women, establish mentoring initiatives, enroll high-potential women in leadership development initiatives and align sponsors with them,” she advised.
Mrs Akufo-Addo urged women in privileged positions in society to “speak for balance in entrepreneurship and the business environment. Let’s speak against imbalance. Let’s demand for spaces, let’s identify the spaces and let’s be bold to occupy the spaces and give hands-up to other women”.
Touching on the environment, the First Lady entreated women to champion the use of reusable shopping bags instead of plastics.
“These plastics harm our environment. One of the simplest things we can do as women to support our environment, is to use reusable shopping bags to drastically cut down the amount of plastic we use and help save our environment.”
“The time has come when we must recognise that balance is desirable, balance is vital, balance is humanity’s cry for greatness,” she charged.
UNFPA Country Representative, Mr Niyi Ojuolape disclosed that the initiative to support out-of-girls through skills acquisition and training would soon be extended to six municipalities in other regions.
He highlighted the need for mentorship for young girls “to give them the right information and skills to ensure girls grow to realise their full potential”.
Constance Ama Emefa Edjeani-Afenu was adjudged the most outstanding women in leadership for being the only female Brigadier General in Ghana.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH
Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo presenting a plaque to Brigadier Edjeani-Afenu.
First Lady delivering her speech
First lady exchanging pleasantries with some women at the awards event