How do one get to a place where they lead global platforms where their dreams become valid? If you are born into a family of informal traders or middle class, can you still rise through the ranks of leadership despite your humble beginnings?
We tell young women, ‘‘your dreams can be valid’’, that leadership in the public service and private sector is possible for all.
However, it is usually a distinctive focus on leadership interventions and programs that someone choses to mold young people, and create opportunities for young women to believe that they too can be leaders.
Despite coming from a poor background, and reflecting back on all of all the young girls raised in a poor community, some are able to rise up to the top. How does a young lady make it to a leadership position from such background to occupy positions in areas such as Social justice, constitutionalism and the rule of law?
As young women, we must pause and consider if our dreams are more valid than other girls in our close circles. Truth is, our dreams are not better than the other girls, but going through a leadership process as a young woman distinguishes you from the rest.
Women stories should not only be exceptional but must become the rule which others use to set their standard for success. If we are to normalize women taking up leadership roles and becoming top professionals, the agenda must be set right.
We catch young women a bit too late. I want to propose that we think about programs which a gender sensitive in their design. We need to talk about the fact that leadership is an identity work. You first need to give women the environment which affirms that they can be leaders right from an early stage.
Decouple career path and gender stereotypes
Women should be given room to break the cycle of believe that leadership is a male thing. We must decouple career path and gender stereotypes. Once we begin to do that, we fuel the notion that there are certain jobs that belong to men and other jobs belong to women.
Properly design leadership programs
We should properly design leadership programs to increase the scope of leadership possibility for women. Stop building leadership programs that don’t activate strategic positions and network opportunities for women and young girls.