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Women leadership in the 21st century through Covid-19

Covid-19 women and leadership meeting summary

“Behind every successful woman, there is a tribe of women” – The UK diaspora comes together to talk Women and leadership.


The UK Africa Diaspora assembled this past week to discuss the evolving role of women in society.

A panel of speakers to the lead the discussion covering an array of topics surrounding women and leadership in the 21st century.

The two and a half hour meeting inspired women from UK and Africa to take control, realise their potential and not to conform to the stereotypes of women in society.

Here is a summary of each speaker and their message.

  1. Winnie Makai

The communication consultant who was speaking from Kenya spoke about the need for policy and policy reform in times of crisis.  A lot of the information they’ve been hearing is about purchasing and cost of COVID 19 relief. She believes as a leader you must be able to anticipate and adapt in times of crisis.

“Coronavirus is in Europe but COVID 19 is in Africa, what is the difference? Coronavirus is a deadly disease but COVID 19 is a business concept”

“The continent has taken this opportunity to do business”

    2. Dr Callun Johnson

Dr Johnson who supports victims and survivors of domestic abuse spoke of her work in trying to prevent suicides due to lockdown restrictions.  She urged to people to reach out for support if they’re suffering from abuse or need help with childcare.

“Its been the most horrendous time for people living with the perpetrator”

“You have places to go, you do have people to see, do not suffer alone.”

   3. Iris Aekah

The life coach shares her story and inspired members of the meeting to control their lives by gaining more knowledge.  She urged people to focus their minds on positive and not to conform to what society wants for women.

“If you become a master of your mind, you master your life”

   4. Sanui Koroma

She is an advocate against female genital mutilation. She spoke of the importance of personal growth to ward off insecurity.

          5. Esther Onana

A legislator by profession she encouraged a shift in policy to prevent poverty. She also encouraged women of today to inspire each other and share ideas. The speaker then spoke of the importance of helping women with disabilities.

“It is the mindset that works, even in overcoming ailment.” 

“Policies that are preventing poverty irradiation need to be put in place”

  6. Abigail Kabirou

The physiology and psychology student and youngest speaker Abigail spoke of the expectations of young women in the 20th century. She spoke of the identity conflict many young people have living in the diaspora.  Abigail also encouraged young women to have high aspirations and motivated the meeting speaking about the importance of achieving the best you can as an individual. She spoke of the societal pressures faced by women and the threats posed by an educated independent woman.

“This is the age of a multifaceted woman”

“How can you enrich yourself to become the happiest version of you”

    7. Baker Kiyingi

Mr Kiyingi, a community leader within the Ugandan Muslim community gave his take on women leadership stating women have always been powerful. He believes if women pulled their resources they serve the community better than men but this need to happen more often. He urged women to appreciate the power they have and to work with men to help improve society.

“Women shape the generation, women have so much strength and so much power and so much to give to the community and society.”

    8. Veronica Kararwa

Veronica gave advice to the attendees about how to navigate ourselves in times of need. Veronica urged women to realise the power they have and to take the lead.  She expressed the need for women to stop fighting against each other but to work together, calling on businesswomen to try help more women in getting through the door.

“You cannot lead when you’re facing the crowd”

“We as women are our worst enemy because we are too critical and judgemental on ourselves”

   9. Susan Fujana-Thomas

The councillor called for greater intervention from the government to implement government policies focused on the advancement of women in society. Mrs Thomas spoke of the importance of accessing capital, but the discrimination faced in the business sector hinders progression. The councillor also stated  was discrimination in business and cultural stereotypes of women needed to be talked to help empower women.

“We need to tackle discrimination in women entrepreneurship”

“It is important for government to put policies that encourages women and that are gender responsive to help women succeed in the business arena”

   10. Julliet Makhapila

Mrs Makhapila’s message to UK diaspora was we need to change patterns around the world. She questioned the role of women in the diaspora. She also questioned the metal and physical health of women and the role women play in decision making.  The message conveyed was also the importance of having women in places making real decisions.

“What do women want to achieve in the diaspora?”

   11. Rosemary Kamau

The teacher and psychologist speaking from Nairobi Kenya, Rosemary spoke the importance of science in the world urged the next generation of women to get involved in science.  Mrs Kamau wants to change how women are portrayed in education and urge the next generation to take up the harder subjects.

“The days have gone where the only place women are needed is domestically”

“We need to change the way women are viewed in society”

   12. David Karikuki

The team leader transforming community initiative advocates for community development through men and women actively working together. The importance of a good leader will help the progress and partnership between me and women.  Mr Karikuki also emphasised the importance of breaking down discrimination, recognising human rights within the community.

 “The collectively and partnership between men and women in the 21st century is key”

  13. Dr Mel Wealth Magent

Shared her personal journey being a businesswoman and mindset change to generate wealth. She spoke of the importance of having wealth in the business sector. Urged members to change the way change you think.

“We must have wealth in order or us to have influence”

“we must be teaching our African woman that anything can be possible”

   14. Tarela Aghanti

Spoke about the importance of finding happiness and joy in chaos. She spoke of the importance of including women with disability in the women empowerment debate. She emphasised women with disability need to be placed in places of influence to impact society.

“I strongly believe that women with disabilities have something great to give to society.”

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