Speech the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of EBID, Dr. George Agyekum Donkor, on the International Women’s Day Celebration 2024

Speech the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of EBID, Dr. George Agyekum Donkor, on the International Women’s Day Celebration 2024

Good morning, Vice Presidents, Directors, and staff members.

Every year on March 8, we commemorate International Women’s Day, which is a day dedicated to shining a spotlight on initiatives that contribute towards reducing gender inequality while serving as a call to action. This year’s theme, “Inspire Inclusion”, is a reminder of the importance of empowering women and giving them access to positions of leadership in all spheres of society.

A recent report by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women) showed that despite efforts towards Gender Equality as called for by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, the following are the statistics on women in leadership.

Globally, women hold:

  • 26.7% of seats in parliaments around the world,
  • 35.5% of local government roles and,
  • 28.2% of management positions in the workplace.

In fact, the report warned that if countries do not invest in making progress on SDG 5, they risk eroding the gains and improvements made on the other SDGs by 2030. For example, policies for ensuring food security and poverty eradication that do not take gender equality into consideration will be limited in their success because they do not account for women, whose roles in food production and economic activity can be limited.

Another study by McKinsey and Company showed that Africa could add about USD 316 Billion to regional GDP each year if we achieved gender parity. Ladies and gentlemen, it is clear that beyond the ethical responsibility of fostering equality, women’s empowerment has great value and stands to play a key role within the Global Development Agenda.

As the saying goes, Charity begins at home. The conversation about women’s empowerment would not be complete without a discussion of best practices for increasing female representation, especially in leadership, in our own circles and at our Bank.

In this regard, permit me to conclude by sharing three key strategies proposed by the internationally renowned Forbes Business Council:

  • Embrace Diverse Leadership styles – We must challenge ourselves to learn and adjust our managerial and leadership styles to foster a more inclusive organizational structure.
  • Provide opportunities for decision-making and supervisory roles- We must actively create more opportunities for women to be exposed to leadership for professional growth.
  • Mentorship– We all may know young women in our communities who are just beginning their life’s journey; it is important that we serve as mentors for this next generation.

The Management of EBID has made efforts to improve gender inequality guided by our Gender Policy which both promotes gender mainstreaming in our operations and supports economic activities by women throughout the sub-region. Within its operations, EBID gives priority to women during the hiring process (including promotion for internal opportunities); provides periodic health screenings free of charge and; maintains a competitive and flexible maternity leave policy to facilitate work-life balance. Finally, you would agree with me that the Bank has a track record of supporting female staff experiencing health challenges.

In terms of resources, the Bank also supports women-owned SMEs by providing dedicated financing to support the expansion of their businesses all over the sub-region.

However, the task of improving gender equality is a great one which will require all of us to continue working together. So today, I urge us all to commit to taking action on a personal level to contribute to empowering women. After all, there are many future female directors and executives here among us today- they just need the right tools and opportunities!

God bless our women and May we all be empowered to Inspire Inclusion!


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