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When women work together they thrive

Writing about women in the month of March is a pleasure for me. March is officially the month for women as declared by the United Nations the world body. So, it is a big deal!

The Declaration of the year of the Women was in 1975. Designation of 8th March as the Women’s Day was in 1977. Women had been fighting for recognition of their rights. Now their activities were to be observed, recognised, and celebrated. The United Nations was leading the way in formalising the contribution of women to all events facing the world including, war and peace, research, civil rights, health, gender and reproductive rights, the environment etc.

It’s the 21st Century, women are still marching on in small and sometimes significant steps. The regular steps taken include leadership strides at a personal level, academic and other dynamic accomplishments on a regular basis. These maybe ’too numerous’ to be mentioned on a post of this size but nevertheless important. Other breakthroughs are the ‘Me too’ movement that acknowledges the sexual discrimination that especially women have suffered in the workplace for some time. This act is no longer tolerated by design and when it happens, it is no longer swept under the carpet. The significant steps taken, which are the ones trending in the news at a global level and two come to mind. The appointment of Kamala Harris as the first ever female Vice President of the United States of America. That is a very big and loud statement by them that the ladies have arrived, they see them, and they have a place at the top table. Another significant appointment is that of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Director General of the World Trade Organisation. Congratulations to both ladies.

As a coach and blogger, I am increasingly inspired by women as people, professionals, or entrepreneurs. Women also care intensely about family, friends, colleagues, and the community at large. They care about what other people think about them and what they are doing and endeavour to do their best.  Women should care more about their mental and physical well-being while going about their work. My observation is that women are working together more and more, as mentors and coaches and also as mentees and coachees. It hasn’t always been like that. When women work together, they thrive. Women are natural sharers, so hand holding is becoming a necessity by design than default. When one of them breaks through, everyone closes ranks to support her. The first words to be uttered would be something like, ‘We are in this together!’

My first lesson and word of encouragement to our womenfolk is to take ourselves and each other seriously with compassion and knowledge. In my view, no others’ accomplishment should diminish your own. There are as many lanes drawn for each one of us as there are people and we are all running our own races based on each one’s purpose. If Mizinga Melu writes a best seller (Braving the Odds) it does not stop you or me from writing our own story in our own words from our own unique experiences. Tell your story, inspire others, not to copy, but inspire them to achieve more than they have already.

Earlier on I described women as being sharers. I notice that after publishing her book, Mizinga has extended herself to start the ‘When Women Lead Foundation’. Over and above sharing her story in a book for young professional and entrepreneurial women to follow, they can also apply to the Foundation for mentoring. This exercise is value-adding to those that are served to skill up and acquire other life serving skills. I believe all of this is for free. Once you are accepted, a mentor is assigned to work with you for 3 months. The testimonials from the first co-hort speaks for itself. It has transformed their lives.

A word of caution: A Coach or mentor is not a silver bullet that will magically change your fortunes. Any coach or mentor will tell you that from the outset. Bring your ‘A’ game to the table. This includes honesty, commitment, acceptance of yourself for who you are; and resolve to make those changes that will enable you to achieve your goals. If this process takes you down to zero then that is where you start to build yourself up. Whether its career, savings, or business you want to build, you are better off knowing who you are and commit to the work required ahead of you.

Happy Women’s Month and Happy Women’s Day to all the women of the world, we are all in the struggle together. When each of our own little energy is added together with others, it will result in a big spark that impacts on all our lives directly or indirectly.

Beatrice Nkanza

Performance Coach and Blogger

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