International Women's Day 2017
Be bold for change. Celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.
With it being International Women’s Day and still being in the spirit of Ghana’s 60th Independence, I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate Ghanaian women that are trailblazers in their relevant industries and sectors. Now, if I was to list every single Ghanaian woman doing amazing things, this post will easily turn into a dissertation. I have selected these women because they inspire me personally and definitely advocate the ethos of IWD2017, ‘Be Bold For Change’. To all women worldwide, Happy International Women’s Day! Continue striving for excellence and remaining true to who you are. To my Ghanaian sisters and mothers, thank you. Thank you for instilling amazing values in us and I pray that as we have reached this milestone in the history of our nation, that we will continue to level up and be the change that we want to see (word to Ghandi!)
I cannot acknowledge Ghanaian women without paying homage to the Queens in my life. Please note that I will not be posting images of these women for the sake of their privacy. Firstly, to my now, late grandmother, Cece Ewuraa Akua (Elizabeth Okine) – thank you. Thank you for raising blessed children and grandchildren. Thank you for the sacrifices that you made early on in your life to ensure that your family lived well. We did not get to say goodbye properly and my heart breaks every time I think about not seeing you again but I want to thank God for the life that you lived. You are indeed the definition of a strong woman and the qualities you demonstrated in your life are qualities that I hope to pass onto my siblings, children and grandchildren. You lived to see all 12 of your grandchildren grow up, some of us are even graduates now, you lived well, now rest well you Queen. (02/2017)
Travelling from Ghana to the UK with the bare minimum, my mother has built a life for herself and our family, completed qualifications, acquired properties and established businesses to support us. Coming from humble beginnings, my Mommy has indeed given me many things but the two things that she always says no one can take away from me, are the two things that genuinely add to who I am today (Christ and education). I genuinely do love this woman from the bottom of my heart, her prayers are what have kept me and she is my role model when it comes to ‘being a woman’. I cannot wait until I make my millions so I can give this Queen the retirement that she deserves when that time comes around (yes, we know you are still a young babe, Mommy). So, Happy International Women’s Day, Mommy because I know you will definitely read this!
Now, onto some of my inspirations in the wider Ghanaian community...
Georgina Theodora Wood
Chief Justice of Ghana and the first woman to occupy this role. DROPS MIC. Maybe you didn’t take that in, so let me say it again. Her Ladyship Georgina Theodora, first female Chief Justice of Ghana! She has received several awards for her public service and dedication to the nation, as well as her outstanding contribution to the judiciary. There are some people you don’t talk too much about, who she is speaks for her.
I came across this inspirational woman as a result of befriending her son. An evident woman of God, wife, mother and CEO of Fio Enterprise Ltd, Ms Ahwireng is an inspiration and example to many. In 2013, she was named as one of Ghana’s Most Outstanding Women Entrepreneurs – if that is not an achievement, I do not know what is! Given the age that we are currently in, there ultimately is no excuse for us as young women to go out and create opportunities for ourselves. Networking is extremely important and in Aunty Adelaide’s interview with Ghana News Agency, she mentioned this - “Rely on good relations, networking, coaching and counselling among yourselves and never forget to rely on God for guidance and direction”. I love that she places an emphasis on God being the main part of the equation when it comes to development and success.
As an avid TEDx Talks subscriber, I came across this amazing women on TEDxAccra. Yawa Hansen-Quao is a social entrepreneur and founder of Leading Ladies Network. The Leading Ladies Network aims to nurture girls and women. The organisation is centered on promoting entrepreneurship and employability and has so far helped over 800 girls. Hansen-Quao also sits as a leadership consultant to UN Women that encourages women leaders in Eastern and Southern Africa. She is author of Daughters of Zelophehad, a book that I cannot wait to read later on this year! Yawa has definitely contributed to the advancement of women in Ghana as well as across the continent.
I have been following Dentaa for a few years now and I admire her so much! CEO of GUBA Enterprise (GUBA Awards, GUBA Expo, GUBA Foundation and GUBA Careers Fair) with GUBA standing for Ghanaian UK Based Achievement. If you do not know about GUBA, I really do not know where you have been but the GUBA Awards was set up in 2010 to highlight and acknowledge the achievements of Ghanaians in the UK. Mrs Amoateng has won several awards of the years (Women4Africa Awards in 2014 being one of them), however in the summer of 2016, Dentaa was awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) under the Queen’s Birthday Honours List (2016) for her services to the UK-African Diaspora Relations. To add to her impressive accolade, Dentaa is a presenter, entrepreneur, TV personality and established philanthropist.
Shirley Frimpong Manso
Shirley Frimpong Manso is a film director writer, founder and CEO of Sparrow Productions – phew, that’s a lot! Sparrow Productions is a film, television and advertising company. She was recently awarded Best Director at the 6th Africa Movie Academy Awards. I actually came to know of Shirley because of my Daddy. Now, in my early teenage years (seems like an age ago now), I was an avid playwright. I remember watching Adam’s Apple featuring the likes of Jocelyn Dumas and Yvonne Okoro and absolutely loving it – not just the relatable storyline but the amazing quality. Shirley Manso is definitely contributing to the Ghanaian film industry and I cannot wait to see the greater things to come from this lady! I heard that to be a millionaire you need to have multiple sources of income, maybe I need to start writing those plays again!
Rosalin Abigail Kyere-Nartey
Rosalin Nartey is a social entrepreneur heavily involved in hospitality and tourism. I recently went to the London Aquarium with one of my Ghanaian friends and he made an interesting comment about the tourist attraction. He said ‘We need something like this in Ghana’. Now, some of you may see this as far-fetched, I must admit, I did too, however upon thinking about it properly and coming across Nartey, I agree. Tourism is one of our main industries in Ghana and I believe that as our nation has reached an amazing milestone, it is time for us to revolutionise our industries to promote economic growth. The Minister of Finance released his budget statement last week and it is interesting to see that he actually holds a similar viewpoint. With the innovative hospitality measures and solutions that Nartey has under her belt, I believe that she could indeed revolutionise tourism in the nation.
I am a lover of the corporate world, corporate life is just sexy. I really do love seeing women occupy senior positions of leadership in renowned firms, as that is personally one of my career goals. Joyceline is responsible for the Accounting Advisory Unit of KPMG Ghana and currently has over 20 years of experience in Financial Management Software Implementation. As a mother obviously heavily invested in her children’s lives as well as occupying a senior position at a firm like KPMG, Coleman, in my eyes, defies the “women cannot have it all” ethos that traditionally, many people hold (or should I say, have held!)
Charlotte Lily Baidoo
Baidoo is the CEO of Women’s World Banking Ghana. Interestingly, the WWBG is dedicated to assisting SME’s financially to grow their businesses. With a BA in social sciences, an MBA in Finance, extensive experience, paired with a genuine passion for helping SME’s, Charlotte Baidoo has risen to a level that I cannot wait for my young Ghanaian queens to reach! In a recent article by City FM, Baidoo encouraged young ladies to be determined in their quest to become successful career women. It is important to instil this message in young girls, particularly in Ghana where we tend to ascribe to traditional gender roles.
Peace Hyde is a Ghanaian TV Personality and media entrepreneur and has recently been named Africa’s leading media entrepreneur. Ever heard of Forbes? Well Peace Hyde is the West African Correspondent for Forbes Africa and Forbes Women Africa and her show ‘My Worst Day with Peace Hyde’ has raked in thousands of views and recognition across the continent. Aside from her career, she is the founder of Aim Higher Consulting Africa, an organisation that ‘seeks to create sustainable economic change, through educating, inspiring and empowering Africa’. Educated in Britain, Peace moved to Ghana a few years ago to pursue her career in acting and presenting. Earning a pretty good wage here in the UK, it was inspiring to watch her TEDxAccra talk, where she spoke about her reasons for moving back to Ghana. If I am honest, it caused me to think about whether us Western-born and educated Ghanaians should go back and use our education and skills to ultimately “give back”. I am actually interested to hear from people that have moved back to their respective African countries.
Israella Kafui Mansu
Now for those of you that do not know, Ghana is rich in several resources and that shea butter that you find in your local beauty supply stores, in your Body Shop Body Butters, comes from the Motherland! Israella Kafui Mansu is the CEO of Mansuki Ghana Limited, a company committed to making cosmetics and body care products from natural ingredients such as coconut, shea butter and fruit. I looked into Israella’s story and I was inspired. In an interview with Ghana Star, she mentioned that she went into “Shea butter production seven years ago after National Service when it was difficult to get the so-called formal job. Within those seven years, I have been able to employ others. Currently my products are on high demand on the European market and quiet recently we have gained some customers who buy in large quantities from Australia”. I love how she identified a gap in the market, a problem in the economy and stepped all the way up.
Being a woman is amazing and the gifts that God has instilled in our nature as women need to be shared with the world. Grandmothers, aunties, mothers, sisters and friends, I salute you all as women - continue walking in your purpose! I could go on and on and on, but trust me, women are doing great things in the nation of Ghana and I am very optimistic about the future! Be sure to follow these women on their journeys on their various social media platforms.