How women can be effective leaders, by Ezekwesili, Olugbodi

Oby Ezekwesili

Women in the country have been urged to be proactive and responsive to the challenges of leadership in all spheres of human endeavour, and should jettison the wrong perception held by many that they can’t make good leaders due to their gender.

The advice was handed down at the weekend in Lagos, by the former Minister of Education, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, and the Executive Vice Chairman, Verdant Zeal, Dr Tunji Olugbodi.

The duo, who were guest speakers at the Women in Leadership Conference, with theme: Revolutionary Thinking:Shaping the future for Nigeria, held in Lagos, said that men and women were created with the same endowments, talents and capabilities.

Ezekwesili who spoke on the topic: Challenging traditional leadership paths and behaviours, further said that it was wrong for some people to have the wrong impression that women were created as weaker sex with lower endowments.

She further stressed that the so called cultural, political and socio-economic barriers against women were artificial or at best non-existent, adding that women must forge ahead and shouldn’t trade off their talents, capabilities because of this erroneous belief.

She ,however, cautioned that women should pursue their career goals in tandem with remaining responsible wives and mothers, stressing that it was wrong to believe that being a career woman means that you can no longer be a good wife or mother. She said there should be a balance between the two challenges.

She further advised that for women to become effective leaders, emphasis must be paid to educating the women folk at all levels of education, opening academies to train women in leadership which will emphasize character, competence and capacity. She said that there should also be skills and empowerment programmes for women, since they were the engine of development of any nation.

Olugbodi, who spoke on the topic: Time to break the glass ceiling by affirmative action, said he always believed that women have the same capacity with men, especially in areas of talents and endowments. He disclosed that he had to change his topic which was “Men as Allies, to be above, because he has come to understand that women have great potential and capability to be good leaders.
He, therefore, called on women to do away with the wrong belief that anybody stood on their way to becoming effective leaders in their different callings. He further stressed that women have great virtues which have been proven beyond doubts following the way mothers manage the home.

Earlier in her speech, the convener and founder, Savvy Women’s Circle (SWC),Aji .R. Michael, said that the conference was organized by SWC, Altadecca Retail Consulting and Crystal Options, adding “it demonstrates our commitment to support the next generation of women leaders.”

Our theme this year is Revolutionary Thinking: Shaping the future for Nigeria is to remind us that today’s great leaders are not just thinkers, but revolutionary thinkers. They are not prepared to settle for the statusquo, but rather are daring in their thinking and are prepared to challenge how things have always been done.”

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