The 8th of every March is International Women’s Day globally and this year’s observance was held as usual since its first on February 28, 1909 in New York. And to celebrate this year’s event , Ericsson Ghana to show their support for women advancement across the globe, held a mentoring and speaking session to engage female engineering students from the various tertiary institutions across the country with esteemed world-recognised women in engineering and technology careers.
It was a great opportunity for me to meet Lucy Quist, Managing Director of Airtel Ghana who happened to be the first speaker.
With a clear and confident stance, she inspired the young women from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Ghana Telecommunications University, University of Ghana, as she reflected on her time as an engineering student. She further stressed on how women must work extra hard to develop their skills in order to be able to compete globally. Acquiring certain skills today would be very essential in the future, she reminded the listening audience.
That statement reminded most people to see every skill as one which will be a building block for upcoming opportunities. No skill is to be overlooked. Lucy Quist is the second woman in the history of the Ghana to be appointed to head a telecommunications company and her strong experience in the telecommunications industry served as a great source of inspiration and knowledge.
When asked what her next step will be after Airtel, her perfect response was, ‘There is a lot more to be done in Africa’. She continued by explaining how there are issues in the society, issues in the systems of this country and in Africa and how these must be resolved. In short, she is ever ready to help resolve these. (Can we have more women saying things like this? I asked myself)
Estelle Akofio-Sowah, country manager of Google Ghana was the next speaker and her affability and great humour was a great platform on which she launched into encouraging the audience to work excellently at everything. Her personal take on any work assigned to her is to work with excellence no matter how small or meager the task may seem. That way one’s work will always be preferred and recognized. She responded on how she addressed challenges in her life by advising the group to be patient and persistent in their careers. A challenge is to be seen as a learning experience and not one to just give up on.
Women in Ghana have to realize there is nothing wrong with aspiring to become a leader in their society. There was laughter as she commented on how in Ghana, unless a woman has Mrs attached to her name then she hasn’t ‘landed’ or isn’t noticed.
A true statement sadly which is the real picture of how society regards single women. Its important to also learn how to deal with people and how to think critically to find solutions for our country. Her 4P’s strategy was a perfect quote to end the session; Prayer, Patience, Protection and Planning.
When interviewed on how in Ghana we can #MakeItHappen for women in Arts, STEM, leadership in Ghana this is what both speakers had to say;
Lucy Quist: We have to convince and help our women to understand that nothing is impossible. They don’t need to have barriers to what they can achieve. Their potential is just the same as any human being walking the face of the earth. The barrier to their success is in their heads; break the barrier in your mind and all other barriers will fall apart.
Estelle Akofio-Sowah – By helping another woman. If everyone made it happen for another woman, gave another woman the confidence, focus and direction, the understanding of themselves and of others and a little encouragement I know we can #MakeItHappen.
Great job by Ericsson taking the lead to bring change to the lives of women in Ghana through this event. There must be more awareness created in Ghana towards women’s day and my post from last year’s event reiterates this as well. Women need each other and the dog-eared saying that ‘Women are their own enemies’ must be silenced once and for all is my humble opinion. We as women need more of these events and workshops to move us past every mental barrier we sometimes create ourselves! You can follow up on the tweets, posts and other stories on social media with the hashtag #IWDEricssonGh