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The Number of Women in Leadership Has Risen but This is Yet to Equal Their Influence

  Mar 10, 2017

Effective Leadership and Work Life Integration in Celebration of International Women’s Day

|Strathmore Business School held the Women Global Leadership Conference in celebration of the International Women’s Day on the 8 th – 9 th March 2017, convening over 150 women in senior management across Kenya’s corporate and public sector.

The Conference brought to attention the fact that although the number of women in leadership positions has risen, women do not necessarily have greater power in corporate circles and in key decision making positions.

According to the Women Matter Africa Report (2016) by McKinsey & Company, organisations that have at least a quarter representation of women sitting on their boards, have reported on average a 20- percent increase in earnings before interest and tax; yet gender equality remains way off.

Strathmore Business School, a leading Business School in Africa that seeks to drive conversations around leadership and management, has developed an array of programs for women in leadership. The strategic intent of this year’s Global Leadership Women’s Conference was ‘Becoming an Integrated Leader for Sustainable Results’ focused on four key domains:

  • Enriching ones’ leadership toolkit.
  • Harnessing wisdom to influence leadership
  • Relating to others with authenticity and with courage
  • Seamlessly applying management skills and leadership strengths both professionally and on the home front.

‘Due to the multiple roles that women play in society and especially in the workplace, the ability to perform effectively and efficiently seems a challenge to many. There are features within you that need to be harnessed and when well-managed, will cause a ripple of intrinsic transformation to achieve excellence in all spheres of your life’, says Patricia Murugami- Women’s Conference Convener.

Organizations are often challenged with moving women through the pipeline to next levels of leadership due to: individual factors, personal choice, family circumstances and traditional, cultural barriers. Former CEO and Senior Executive in the Kenyan banking industry, Carol Musyoka, advises, “Women must learn to raise their hands to opportunities. They must exercise courage through their action in saying “yes” to leadership. How women “show up” in the face of an opportunity and how they present themselves in professional social circles determines their entry into the board room.”  “Women must make deliberate choices to grow and lead. These choices must be well calculated with a conscious effort to effectiveness. Productivity wears no gender and so should leadership.” Martin Oduor, Former KCB Group CEO.

Arguably, Africa’s economic growth and the development of its organisations will benefit from strong leadership and contribution by women at the relevant levels for posterity and sustainability. By the end of the conference, participants were challenged to seek that intricate balance that ensures personal fulfillment; at the work place, home front and social circles in light of multiple roles of a woman’s life.

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