The Executive Director of Ecobank Mrs Carol Oyedeji gives her goodwill message to all women of the world as we all celebrate International Women’s Day. In her words “Often times, the role of a woman is greatly underestimated particularly with respect to society in general.
Whether biologically or through sheer grit, a woman has the capacity to significally move things positively which lot of institutions often miss. If one examines the growth pattern of ladies in any organisation, it can be quite worrisome. A typical firm may achieve balance at the entry level for their employees. However as this same set of individuals grow in their careers, the number of females rapidly thin out to the extent that they become a slim handful at Senior and Executive Management levels. The fact that very little understanding and concern is shown when women decide to leave the work force to focus on their families should be a source of worry. Also, statements like a woman can achieve anything she wants to be also do not help, putting further pressure and guilt when the ladies decide to leave a formal work environment. This is where support must come in and speaks to the theme of my message ‘Balance for Better’.
A woman can aspire to her full potential only when she is psychologically balanced. This comes from how she views her ability to cope with the management of her work responsibilities and the home front. Where the latter suffers there is no way she will be able to comfortably deliver her commitments/targets in the office. This is where support must come from both her employer and her family.
At work, maternity conditions (pre and post) must recognise that a woman needs time to groom another human being who can potentially contribute to the economy in the future.
At work, a Boss needs to show empathy when a staff has a sick child or during the very rare occasion a kid’s school engagement may require the woman’s attention. As far as this is not the norm.
At work, the environment should not conflict with the values the woman maintains outside the office.
At home, a spouse has to be extremely supportive. If he is not ready to share respinsibilities, he must be open to extra hands e.g. Nanny, Cook, Driver, Mother-in-law etc.
At home, all members of the family must pull together to support the woman particularly grown up children or if there are relatives being accommodated.
Lastly, we as women must be open to accepting that we are not ‘Super women’. We must lean on others for help. The belief that you can be the best in your career, the best wife, the best mother, the best cook, the best daughter/daughter-in-law and be chic at the same time, is a serious MYTH and we must wake up from this dream. What is important is that in whatever role we assume, we must give our best at that time and solicit support in the other areas where we are also needed so that the task at hand gets the best attention and delivery. This is the delicate balance we should maintain not only to better ourselves wholly but keep our overall emotional well-being sound.
On this our special day, let’s thank God for blessing this world with womanhood which we as members must appreciate, celebrate and be proud of.
I also call on our dear men to show care and appreciation to the special women in their lives today. Your Wife, Mother, Sister, Colleague, Friend etc. Without these people you will not be what you are suppose today so recognise this.
I wish us women special blessings as we mark this day.
Carol Oyedeji, Executive Director.
Mr David BABALOLA of the same institution added that “The strongest individuals I know are of feminine gender. And by strength I refer not to the toning of their muscles, or the bulk of their biceps, nor is my reference to the width of their triceps.
Their strength is evident in their ability to excel as career women while simultaneously maintaining an adorable home-front, being responsible citizens and contributing to the environment in every way possible.
While thinking about women who have broken through the barrier of female exclusion, Kathrine Switzer comes to mind. Prior to 1967, marathoning as a sport was exclusively reserved for the male gender, as women were considered top feeble, weak and frail for such a vigorous sport.
Well, Kathrine wouldn’t have any of that! She refuse to be stereotyped based only on her gender. She decided not to allow public opinion limit her pursuit and desire for personal achievements, she chose not to be a victim of a belief that had no empirical backing what so ever.
So what did she do?
In 1967, she entered the Men’s marathon, in disguise! A few blocks into the marathon, she was discovered by one of the race officials who attempted to stop her by any means necessary. With her boyfriend proceeding to distract the official while her coach shouted at her to “run like hell”, she went ahead to prove pundits wrong.
Thus began the journey that would, 5 years later, see women officially allowed to run the Boston Marathon. Imagine what could have been, or not be, if one woman had not chosen to beat the stereotype! Of her legacy as a pioneer, she wrote in The Times: “We learned that women are not deficient in endurance and stamina, and that running requires more fancy facilities or equipment. Women’s marathoning has created a global legacy.”
“When I go to the Boston Marathon now, I have wet shoulders—women fall into mybarms crying. They’re weeping for joy because running has changed their lives. The feel they can do anything”. — Kathrine Switzer, The Nation (2013)
Women are known to be better communicators, they spell better, they network better, are better at organizing and coordination and build better teams.
Sir William Gerald Golding was said to have thought that “women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been”
So, woman, what’s your excuse!
As we celebrate this year’s IWD, with the focus being on work-life balance, we call on all women to make their voices heard and occupy their rightful position. The platform has been made available for you, take the floor, it’s yours for the taking. There is nothing inhibiting you from achieving the goals you have set for yourself.
Yes, you can get that promotion, that tole/position by delivering excelling services and exceeding expectations- going the extra mile.
Yes, you can have that beautiful body you have always dream of.
Yes, you can be a great wife and wonderful mother
Yes, you can contribute to the environment, the community and the world at large in the various capacities you choose to.
And the beautiful thing is, you don’t have to sacrifice one in other to achieve the other. With effective work-life-balance, you cannhave it all!
Life can take us on a busy and wild ride, but when priority is given to the things that matter, the ride becomes enjoyable. Remember, work is a part of life, and we must learn to #BalanceForBetter
Happy International Women’s Day! “