‘Women Are Born Leaders’

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Madame Dayo Benjamin (2nd from left): "Women are not interested in taking away men's positions but need equal seats at the table to... work side by side in decision-making."

SHEROES discuss challenges, opportunities in female leadership

Day two of the three-day International SHEROES Forum highlighted women leadership from diverse sectors, discussing the opportunities and challenges for female executives as they trace their own personal journeys and reflect on the systemic challenges and enabling factors that have brought them where they are and how together they can move forward to continue on the progress on gender equality.

Madam Dayo Benjamin of Nigeria said women are not interested in taking away men’s positions but need equal seats at the table to enable them to discuss issues and work side by side in decision-making. “Women are born leaders who add value and can impact the lives of people they lead,” she told the forum.

Madam Benjamin said women must be allowed to lead by excellence and not by the agenda, for the world to move together it requires partnership with men. She said the ability of women being able to come together under one roof to discuss entrepreneurship is about discussing the power to turn tragedy into the economy.

Madam Benjamin urged women to be determined, strong and push hard to enable them to understand that they are capable to take leadership.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lonestar Cell MTN, Uche Ofodile

The first female Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lonestar Cell MTN, Uche Ofodile, said her leadership journey started 15 years ago when she was not even sure of what she wanted to do, though she was involved in marketing.

She said her dream came alive when her father asked her what she wanted to do with her life and insisted that she write her future dream to him in a letter. This she did, stating that her goal was to become a chief marketing officer.

Madam Ofodile said, “My Dad helped me understand that I had a goal that I needed to achieve and I beat that goal. And I continued to do marketing until I went to Ghana, Nigeria and now I am in Liberia.”

She said if women are to achieve their goals, then they need to be strong and brave to chase their dreams, adding that before becoming a CEO, she chased her dream from Nigeria to Ghana and later achieved the CEO position in Liberia.

“Your dream will take you to different places and you must have to be open to that journey, be brave and have people around you that will give you good advice and ask you the right questions,” she said.

Col. Geraldine Janet George, Deputy Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of Liberia

Col. Geraldine Janet George, the first female Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, said working in a male-dominated organization is a serious challenge for women because females have to stand their ground in order to become leaders.

Col. George said the army is not an easy place for men, and that much more for women who have been downplayed because of culture and gender issues that have held them back for so long.

“To become the second person in charge of the Armed Forces of Liberia was not an easy thing. But I was persistent, did not look down upon myself and went with a mind that I can even do it better than men to push myself forward,” she said.

“There came a time I got tired of everything and wanted to leave but I encouraged myself because that could have been a mockery to females,” Col. George said.

She said her quest to join the army came during the 14 years of civil unrest in Liberia when she went to look for food in Brewerville and watched a ten-year-old child being raped in her presence.

She said the misfortune of that child changed her dream from being a pilot to the security sector, to protect the rights of girls and make a difference.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Some women have become cricket leaders because they refuse to select capable men who are born agenda setters. I do agree with that Nigerian woman that African women should focus on “excellence ” instead worry about what brings tomorrow. Leave the agenda to people like me, and tell our Liberian women to stop setting day to day activities. Women cannot set agendas. They are the best custodians of the home. So if you need female equality at my table, you can have a seat if you lead the plan and not set the plan. If I am the big brother or father of my family, regards how much I may have or know I set the agenda. Also The Liberian female soldier should also give the right seat to the male who sets the right pace for her civil code when she has him as a guest in her army camp or when on duty in civil quarters. The code of the Army is not the same as the civil code of Justice. Honest female commitments bring respect neutrality to the young and old in all equality. May their souls remain the peace we seek. Do not answer or chat with me. Tell the people.
    Praying with silent majority.

  2. The Bible is clear that a man leads should be the head of the home. African women should not corrupt our culture and begin to behave like Western Women. The man in the African context is the head. Respect that. Anything otherwise, is un-African and should be condemned.

    • Your comments are based on obsolete thought and unjustified bias against women. You may as well move to India because in that society, women are considered inferior to men and as such their workforce participation is restricted to the detriment of India’s economy. Most African men, by the way, are corrupt and ineffective. Men have ruled Africa for centuries and today the continent is last in every index known to humankind. Perhaps African men could learn something from women.

    • Zinnah, now you know culture? You must be the same fool that wants culture to marry 10 year old girls. Not everything in a culture is good. men like to call on culture when they do not want to change for the better. The Bible say Thou shalt not steal and should love your wife but some of you men are the biggest crooks and have over 25 girlfriend. So shut up.

  3. If you are an idiot, how will you know the educated? How would you even know what civilization is? It seems that such people do not even know their gender and have no way of life. Decent women do not fall in the idiot’s way because he may not be a he, she, or even be an African. Maybe a traitor who submits to women and men to gain influence or pseudo wealth. In the end, might have changed identity, frowns on own place of birth to change nationality. You cannot be a man with an infected female dress on to talk with a natural shirt and trouser going man. What name have you stolen? Read your Ten commandments again and again. Lost with lust.
    If you claim to be educated or civilized like us, do not answer or chat here. Tell the people.

  4. Even the one who may have acquired the highest degree of education or above its level, is not fully educated. Still seeks education from the wisdom of knowledge. Especially from illiterate bonds will never be no matter how such claims are made to be educated and/or civilized. How much than does this one know to write with
    us, the inherited literate? Than now seeks the 9th grader they condemned to teach them the forgotten. How much knowledge entrenched? Use your own knowledge. Do not enter this box. Let Liberians know.
    in prayers for them.

  5. Based on her Military Occupational Specialist(M.O.S); which is “MILITARY LAW”, I’ve always felt, Col. Geraldine George would be more suitable as The Judge Advocate General of The Armed Forces Of Liberia. I wonder, does she agrees with me? A Deputy Chief Of Staff must understand weapon systems, know how to plan combat, fight and win a war.

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