The Maiden International Conference of Women in Management, business and public service (WIMBIZ) held at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, Accra on September 14, 2017. The conference themed ‘Breaking New Frontiers’ was convened to discuss opportunities available for African women, connecting high potential women across Nigeria and Ghana to discuss strategies for increasing female leadership representation in careers, business and public service.
The Conference featured inspiring and motivational speakers, who shared their professional experiences and personal stories of challenges, and triumph in a highly competitive and male dominated society. Plenaries focused on women in careers, entrepreneurial war stories, strategies and opportunities for giving back and inspiring stories of taking bold action.
In her opening remarks, the Special Guest of Honour and Second Lady of the Republic of Ghana, Her Excellency, Hajiya Samira Bawumia acknowledged the efforts made by governments to drive opportunity for women, but expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of gender parity, especially in leadership positions.
‘‘In spite of the global advocacy against gender inequality, an unbelievable rate of gender disparities still remains in our economic and political realms. Women remain underrepresented in leadership and management level positions in the public and private sectors. Less than one-third of senior and middle management positions are held by women.
‘‘In business, women still find it difficult to access finance to scale-up their businesses for growth and sustainability. Financial inclusion for women, especially in rural areas is still a major problem.’’
She called for intensified efforts towards female empowerment, adding that ‘‘limiting women’s access to opportunities that ultimately empowers them is counterproductive because gender equality is essential for the achievement of sustainable development and a prosperous world’’
Speaking on the theme ‘Breaking New Frontiers’, the Keynote Speaker, Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications, Ghana, charged women to remain true to their passion regardless of obstacles they may confront.
According to her, success was for women who persist in the face of challenges, adding that people who give up often miss out of opportunities for breakthroughs.
She advised women to constantly invest in themselves by acquiring knowledge, as it was the only way to stay ahead of globally evolving innovations.
‘You cannot afford to complacent, you need to constantly add value to yourself and communities. Keep striving for success, very soon, all of the hard work you invest in yourself will pay off in the long run.
‘‘Keep asking questions, seek new information. You are getting prepared for the future. No value is lost; any challenge you face is an opportunity to learn something new.’’
The Minister also charged women not to work for reward, adding that selflessness and service to humanity should be their motivation for success.
Other speakers at the conference challenged attendees to take bold steps towards achieving their goals and fulfilling potential. Sharing inspiring personal stories through varied backgrounds and experiences, they urged women to remain steadfast and committed, emphasizing the need for women to mentor and encourage other women to achieve success.
The conference was a gathering of inspiring and influential Ghanaian and Nigerian women across various fields, who came together to learn, interact and foster partnerships necessary for their business growth and personal development.
Expressing satisfaction at the event proceedings, the Chairperson, Executive Council, WIMBIZ, Mrs Aishah Ahmad noted the positive feedback from the delegates and speakers, stating, “we are extremely pleased that the conference was a success, given the presence of influential speakers who clearly inspired the delegates and a full room of accomplished Ghanaian and Nigerian delegates”. She continued, “Our foray into Ghana is only the first step; there are numerous possibilities for a substantial presence in Ghana and elsewhere, as we break new frontiers, inspiring and empowering women across Africa and the World”.
Here are more photos from the conference.