A management accountant at the Central Medical Stores Trust, Elizabeth Castom-Obote is convinced that the 2018 professional women’s conference held at Sunbird Nkopola in Mangochi recently was a timely event.
She deems it was very educative and informative.
“It is time we women stopped looking down on ourselves and took leading roles in our respective organisations. We can also look beyond our current employment and create our own business ventures for extra income,” she said.
Castom-Obote highlighted the need to break cultural barriers, to enable women work and deliver as expected.
“We need to participate and take challenges head on. This is something we lack as women. Above all, if we put into action the things we have learnt, we can make a difference in this country and the world at large. However, what is more important is for us to support each other rather than pulling each other down,” she said.
A lot of issues were discussed at the inaugural professional women in leadership conference organised by the Institute of Certified Accountants in Malawi (Icam).
Maggie Kasambara spoke about rising on professional ladders, Vera Zulu tackled the power of vision and excellence, Nwazi Mnthambala spoke on anchoring service excellence in the public sector and Temwani Simwaka spoke about rising in the financial services sector.
The conference, which was geared at promoting professional women, drew participants from various institutions across the country.
The guest of honour, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) assistant resident representative, Agnes Chimbiri, noted that women play significant roles in the country’s development, but that societal factors have diminished the visibility of such contribution.
“Cultural practices that view women as subservient to men have silenced barred them from public recognition. But surely, no matter how long the journey may appear, it comes to an end. With time, there has been an increase in advocacy for gender equality and women empowerment. Born is the new age of recognition; this is the era of writing chapters of mutual respect, recognition and gender equality,” said Chimbiri.
Presenting on Attracting Talent and Promoting Women in Leadership, Estelle Nuka with over 25 years of experience in finance and auditing, bemoaned the lean composition of women in executive management.
“We need to ask ourselves why we are in this situation. Are we doing enough to make ourselves available for the higher positions? Women have unique talents which, if well utilised, could make a huge difference in society. We need to make our voices heard at every opportunity. We need to promote each other and not pull each other down. We need to set goals and invest in opportunities in front of us,” she advised.
Icam president Henry Chowawa said it was time for the implementation of policies in all our governance structures for the realization of 50:50 participation.