Belinda Ayamgha, GNA
Accra, July 11, GNA - Four influential Ghanaian women have shared their life and career stories with young women to inspire them to improve their lives and that of others, irrespective of the circumstances.
The women were brought together in a panel discussion organized by MASHAV, the development cooperation agency of the Israeli government, as part of a week-long women empowerment and entrepreneurial workshop organized at the University of Ghana.
The panellists; Oheneyere Gifty Anti, Mrs. Pearl Esua-Mensah, Mrs. Freda Prempeh and Mrs. Mawusi Nudekor-Awiti, shared key lessons and values that they believed will help the women to succeed in their lives and careers.
Oheneyere Gifty Anti, Host of the Standpoint, who shared how she got into Journalism as well as her journey as a woman and the challenges she faced, advised the women to find their path and travel their own journeys.
She advised them “not to jump onto other people’s paths in life since each individual had their own journeys and would have to network among each other so that they could leverage their relationships, adding that, it was also important for them to know their limitations and to ask for help when necessary rather than spread themselves so thin they lose out on important things”.
“It’s not easy but you can do it. The key is not to give up. Be a woman on the move; always look for ways to add value to yourself,” she said.
Mrs Pearl Esua-Mensah, who is the Chief Executive Office of Media General, also shared her experiences of growing up, said it was important for women to have a can do spirit and to never say no to challenging responsibilities.
She also stressed the need for women to ensure that they have a seat at the table in their organisations, particularly when dealing with male colleagues.
Women sometimes have to compromise on some issues to fit in and to be at the table, she noted.
Mrs Mawusi Nudekor-Awity, Executive Director of the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) on her part, said “success came not from ordinary luck but by Labouring Under Careful Knowledge (LUCK) and had to be worked for”.
She noted that there was a need for women to be exceptional in whatever they did and to stand out by going the extra mile in their careers and other pursuits.
“It is about exceptionalism, how do you stand out? How do you impact others? If women will work hard and be exceptional, we can make the world a better place,” she stated.
Mrs Freda Prempeh, Deputy Minister of Works and Housing and Member of Parliament for Tano North Constituency, who also shared the inspiring story of how she rose to become a deputy minister and graduate, after she was stuck at her mother’s hotel for 10 years while her mates continued their education.
“Don’t think you can’t do it, persevere, focus and challenge yourselves,” she urged the women.
She said it was critical for women to know their purpose early in life so that they could make appropriate decisions, saying that, ‘for those who hadn’t done so, it was never too late in life”.
Speaking to the GNA in an interview, Ms. Dana Chocron, MASHAV Coordinator at the Israeli Embassy in Accra said the one week workshop, of which the panel was a part, sought to bring together accomplished and inspirational Ghanaian women to share their experiences with the participants.
This, she said, would enable the Ghanaian women to understand that they could make it in the same society with same kind of rules and cultural perspectives as the others had done.
“So if they are able to do it, the ladies from the workshop can also do it. The ultimate purpose of the workshop was to empower and train the women and for them to train other women in the future” she said.
“We wanted to inspire the women to take more leadership roles where they are and design small projects at their work places and communities” noted Dr Michal Sela, Organizational consultant and gender specialist, and resource person for the workshop.
She said women making changes and impacting their communities could happen even though there were some gender barriers. She said it will take courage, determination and managing their lives and careers well, thus the workshop’s focus is not only on inspiring them but to also equip them with relevant skills to succeed.
“I think women do make most significant changes; women do things differently and as women we bring something different. We bring more soft skills into everything we do and also bring more collaborations and partnerships. I think if women take part more in public life and decision making, things can really change,” she said.