Two weeks ago, just about the time we agreed to write about women in power and their role in coaching, mentoring and promoting other less privileged women, the Liberian Women in Business Empowerment Network –USA (LWBEN) approached me on highlighting the benefits I have received, both professionally and personally, from women supporting each other. “Great minds,” the popular saying goes, “think alike.”
Two years ago, I wrote about the support I received from powerful women: from my mother, schoolteachers to professional mentors. Please find time to read our column, Women of Peace, on this important subject matter.
Over the past weeks, dialogue among volunteer peace messengers has focused on women in power and how these women have used their positions to assist other women. The views and reviews have been mixed and opinions have differed.
Some young women, even among volunteer peace messengers, are of the opinion that women in power are just in it for themselves, their families and friends. Most are engaged to serve themselves. Young women feel isolated, neglected and demotivated. They gave several examples, in work places, learning institutions and places of worship, of how some women in power are discourteous, selfish, self-serving, greedy and counterproductive.
A few young women acknowledged and even recognized that women in power are knowledgeable and of substance. They argued that these women are generally kind, generous and proactive. They help other women to thrive without fear, favor or fraternity.
In my opinion, I have come across the good and bad. I have benefited immensely from these encounters by learning from them. Women in power are life-giving arteries that support other women; it is our responsibility to know how to take full advantage of our encounters with women in power.
The purpose of this article is to acknowledge the inherent merits in both opinions and to trigger a revolution for action. Every revolution needs the first spark, and African women are fortunate to have two sparks in President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee.
We are convinced that women need to do more and as the LWBEN states, it is our hope that more Liberian women in power would step up and support each other. It is not enough to support one person and believe we have contributed our quota to humanity. Along the way, we would be disappointed by a younger generation of women, but this should not deter us. Our hard work and commitment to others should serve as inspiration to other women. It is socially and economically unacceptable to ignore our young women.
As young women, we need to define our career paths and approach these paths with real meaning and purpose. There is a great need for young people to identify mechanisms to engage women in power and mobilize them to support our growth path. The opportunities for engagement, volunteerism, internship, exchange programs and resource linkages would have huge implications for women’s empowerment and addressing emerging human issues.
Until next week when we come to you with Part Two of our series on women in power, let peace be your watch word – peace first, peace above all else. May peace prevail on earth!