The 8th Global Conference of the African Women in Leadership Organisation with the theme “We’ve Got the Power” held at the Ritz Carlton, Pentagon City, Washington DC, USA from the 17th – 21st August, 2016.
Conferees arrived the conference on the 17th of August and a welcome cocktail was held on the 18th . The conference was officially opened on the 19th August, 2016 by Chief (Mrs.) Opral Benson, CON, Chairperson, Board of Trustees of AWLO and the Founder/ President of AWLO, Hon. Elisha Attai warmly welcomed all delegates.
He reiterated the fact that African Women in Leadership Organisation remains strong and resolute in their commitment to achieving a bold platform for appraising the performance of our female leaders in government, politics, entrepreneurship, entertainment, education and other fields of endeavor. He stated that it is also the fervent hope of AWLO to see young girls go out and grab the world by the lapels as prescribed by the words of Maya Angelou, “Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” This encapsulates the idea behind AWLO in its theme “WE’VE GOT THE POWER”
The conference showcased different sessions which included the plenary, panel discussions, inauguration of the AWLO Youth Council, the Youth Summit and the Awards and Gala night.
The Conference session, moderated by Prof. Uduak Archibong, was chaired by Almas Jiwani and was enriched by the innovative contributions of erudite and well versed speakers which included Eveline Pierre who spoke on the topic – ‘She Got the Power’, Mr. Jeffry O. who spoke on the topic – ‘Building a Sustainable Future’, Ms. Angelle Kweme – ‘Harnessing the Power of Change’, Jacque Johnson – ‘Women Empowering Women – Taking the Limits off to bring Unity, Prosperity and Equality to all and Mrs. Ibim Sementari – Finding and Owning your Voice as a Woman Leader.
The Youth Summit was chaired by Dr. Violet Arene and issues affecting the growth and development of African youths were identified, discussed and solutions generated.
The key note address was presented by Chief Mrs Folorunsho Alakija, who dispassionately, but convincingly set the tone of the conference in a thought provoking manner. We also had Honourable Senator Donzella James, welcoming delegates to the conference and charging us to arise to the challenge of raising the next generation of female leaders.
Resolutions and Recommendations:
The Global Conference, upon due consideration of and deliberation on all issues raised in the sessions, unanimously observed and resolved as follows:
- That women have the capacity to break glass ceilings and attain whatever heights they wish to reach.
- That the world now recognises that women have the capacity and mettle to head governments. We have examples of Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, President Joyce Bander of Malawi, Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and other women who came before them.
- That we should seize the opportunity to ride upon the shoulders of these great women and take bold steps into the political, social and economic spheres of the continent so we can occupy our rightful place.
- That there is need to groom and raise the next generation of female leaders by:
- Taking off the limitations that hold them down
- Tapping into their talents so they can reach their full potentials.
- Breaking and changing the stereotype which holds women, as only women, mothers and wives. We must be identified for who we are and the value we add to life.
- Supporting our young girls to achieve their goals and encouraging them to make a difference in their immediate environment.
- Encouraging the female child to choose her profession freely and to pursue her chosen career.
- Organising more leadership training and or coaching for women and girls.
- That women leaders already in positions of authority, should mentor, handhold and assist their protégées to success.
- That Nations and governments in the African Continent should increase the quota of women in politics.
- That pressure groups be set up to lobby for women.
- That women in leadership positions should support the rights of other women to rise to leadership positions.
- That we shall advocate for the repeal and or amendment of laws which seek to limit women or that work against their attaining their potentials.
- That we shall advocate for finance institutions to allow women access zero or minimal interest loans to enable them start up businesses.
- That we shall continue to celebrate and recognise women as achievers.
- That women be given opportunities and or chances to demonstrate their capacities in their different offices and careers and not be treated as 2nd class or inferior to men.
- Women should know and understand that they are effective negotiators, hardworking, committed, diligent and extremely loyal, all ingredients for resounding success.
- Every African woman is relevant and thus should refuse to relent but boldly take steps to reach her goals even if she falls and or fails. She must keep getting up until she gets to her destination.
- To continue networking, collaborating with women of like minds, uniting together to achieve progress, knowing that divided, we can never achieve gender equality.
- To be able to raise the next generation of female leaders, we must be intentional, systematic, consistent and move with speed as our generation will not forgive us if we neglect this role.
- We resolve to stop paying lip service, leaving things to others to take the lead. We further resolve to take the lead, invest and make a difference in the lives of women who are in need.
- That each and every one of us has the power to effect real and meaningful change in our communities by using the skills we already have as women.
- That African women are leaders and women of courage, strength, tenacity and purpose and thus women must stick together and make lasting impacts in the hearts and lives of people they meet.
- We should utilize every interaction with our children as an opportunity we have, as mothers, to change the world.
- Knowing that as women we are home builders, nation leaders and community pillars thus our greatest resource is ourselves, our family and our neighbourhood.
- Women have to stand out in refined leadership standards, in virtues of integrity and focus, refusing to compromise our values for therein lies our undeniable strength, resoluteness, resilience and determination.
AWLO thanks all participants at the conference and more importantly our Keynote Speaker, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija for bringing her warmth and wealth of knowledge to share with other women of worth; we thank other speakers and discussants for the industry in their presentations. We assure all members that the outcome of the conference would be properly documented and monitored for implementation.
Our gratitude goes to all who have sacrificed their time and finances to make this conference a success and we pray that you will be rewarded bountifully.
We look forward to seeing all of you next year at our world class conferences. Thank you.
Emem Daniel (Mrs) Elisha Attai
AWLO Secretary/Legal Counsel Founder/President