Uju Tracy Nwawulu-Egeonu is the founder of Women Excel Forum, a non-government organisation established to empower women through hand skill jobs and knowledge with a goal to grow and balance the life of at least 80 per cent of African women, writes Anayo Okolie
It is no longer news that women are under-represented in leadership positions and form a large group of unemployed people in Africa especially.
There have been agitations by several groups asking for more or equal participation in leadership positions. It is easier for men than women to get elected to high political offices and to get top executive positions in business than women.
Nevertheless, there is little consensus on why women remain under-represented in these fields. Reasons such as family responsibilities, inexperience, or women not being tough enough, are however, cited less frequently as significant barriers to female leadership.
Despite above reasons responsible for low participation of women in leadership position, women are still of the view that everyone should receive equal treatment and not be discriminated against based on their gender.
Also, as part of her to encourage equal participation of women in leadership position, a 26-year-old graduate Business Management at Cape Coast University Accra, Ghana, the founder of Women Excel Forum, Uju Tracy Nwawulu-Egeonu believes that empowering women through hand skill jobs and knowledge can go a long way to balance both women and men participation in leadership position.
Women Excel Forum is a non-government organisation powered by Women Excel Development Initiative created to empower women. Women Excel Forum was first registered in Ghana and now in Nigeria
No doubt, so many women have made names in the country but have they made any efforts to ensure equal participation of women in leadership position? The Women Excel Forum has been a source of inspiration to women and through social media.
Unlike many women, who would rather prefer to channel their strength and money into business and family affairs, Nwawulu-Egeonu, who is the daughter of Hon. Benson Nwawulu, representing Ogbaru 1 Constituency in Anambra State House of Assembly, decided to plant her resources in empowering women.
Speaking on decision of establishing Women Excel Forum, Nwawulu-Egeonu said “our aim is to educate and empower women to have the courage to acquire leadership positions and appointments in order to defeat the gender inequality associated in women verses men in power.
“We also aim to cut down the several agitations on women leadership. Unlike other NGOs, we are very passionate about educating and preparing efficient and effective women for leadership positions.
We also aspire to create more job opportunities for at least 80 per cent of African women, thereby boosting herself actualisation to a level where she can be a great addition to the society and the economic growth.
“Due to my passion and zeal to help in the growth of the nation, we have an event taking place in February that can give women the platform for free skills acquisition. Between February 20, 2017 to march 2, 2017, Women Excel Forum will be training 30 women freely on hand beaded accessories.
“After the training, they will also be given substantial amount for business start up. We have an organised follow up team to mentor and guide them on this process. I chose to start with a free beading class because that is what I do and I have trained over 100 students in professional bead making both home and abroad. We are however opened for sponsorships and partnership with NGOs, companies and other personalities.”Nwawulu-Egeonu , who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Tranons Bead and Accessories and also supports the agitation to create equality in law and in social situations, such as in democratic activities and securing equal pay for equal work.
In practice, Nwawulu-Egeonu said the objective of gender equality is for people to acquire equal treatment throughout a society, not just in politics and workplace but also in other policy-designated sphere.
According to her, “Women Excel Forum was initiated by Women Excel Empowerment Initiative. It is a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) established to empower women through hand skill jobs, knowledge and also provide employment with a goal to grow and balance the life of at least 80 per cent of African Women.
“Women Excel Forum has inspired and touched lives through the social media and workshops with the help of sponsors and other NGO companies across the globe.”
Women Excel Forum, Nwawulu-Egeonu said was determined to impact women with skills that encourage them to play a vital role in the growth of the economy. “We give women a platform to network, work, create and add value. Members of this esteemed forum contribute daily to the growth of the society and indeed women excel has come to stay. Together with the support of our men, we hope to impact in the lives of every woman.”
For Nwawulu-Egeonu, “We live in a culture that is shifting by the minute. In this era, joy at work was a pipe dream. You were told that if you kept your eyes on the prize-power and authority-then you would be “successful.” But what does that mean? In this model, no one is happy and thriving. Command and control creates an environment in which employees are starved of autonomy and then get drunk on power once they get to the top of the ladder. Everything is out of balance, and the company suffers.”
Therefore, Nwawulu-Egeonu said “the essence of leadership is shifting from telling everyone what to do, to empowering others to come up with the best and brightest ideas that have never been thought of before. How then do you empower people to be their best? Help them know their vision.
“They say give a man a fish and you feed him for a day but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Through my second company Tranons Bead Academy produces one of the best handmade beads; we have graduated over 100 students in Ghana and Nigeria. They are now becoming professional bead makers,” she added.