Vodafone Ghana has once again proven to be a pacesetter in achieving and sustaining gender diversity and equality. The telecommunications giant recognises the competence and unique contribution of women and is fully committed to the cause of ensuring equal opportunity, empowerment and adequate representation of women in all sectors of national endeavour.
With a senior leadership team composed of three men and five women including CEO, Patricia Obo-Nai, and a workforce that is admirably balanced along gender lines across departments, Vodafone is leading the clarion call for gender-balance and diversity and exemplifies gender inclusivity through its actions and policies.
The telecommunications giant’s passion and relentless commitment to champion this agenda came to the fore during this year’s International Women’s Day as Vodafone Ghana carried out a number of remarkable activities and events to mark the week-long celebration.
Under the customized theme: Women in Leadership: ‘Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world’ with the hashtag #ChooseToChallenge, the scheduled activities were executed with the objective of shining a light on gender bias and inequity while seeking out and celebrating women’s achievements.
As part of efforts to increase women’s engagement in science and technology, Vodafone Ghana through its Foundation, organised an experiential Information Communication Technology (ICT) training on coding and robotics for a cross-section of female students and graduates from selected tertiary institutions across the country. The training equipped participants with practical know-how on the basics of computer programming, coding and robotics.
The ICT Workshop was concluded with a mentoring session which entailed a special no holds barred interactive conversation between the participants and all five female members of the Senior Leadership Team of Vodafone namely Patricia Obo-Nai –CEO, Ashiokai Akrong – Director, Human Resources, Tawa Bolarin –Director, Vodafone Business, Geta Striggner-Quartey – Director, Legal and External Affairs, and Angela Mensah-Poku – Director – Digital Transformation and Commercial Operations. The Directors took turns to share experiences and nuggets of advice with the young women to inspire them towards higher heights in their chosen career paths.
Known for her passion and advocacy for increased female participation in STEM, CEO Patricia Obo-Nai shared her thoughts at a number of high-profile events including a webinar on STEM and Gender organised by the British High Commission as well as a Glitz Africa’s SHE Boss event, an annual IWD networking event on gender parity. Other female members of Vodafone’s Senior Management Team also followed suit with gender parity advocacy activities on other platforms; Director of Digital Transformation and Commercial Operations, Angela Mensah-Poku, made a strong case for women to embrace digitalization and be considered for more spots in digital technology led careers during an interview on Uniiq FM.
Another keen area of interest to Vodafone Ghana is the security and safety of women in society. With the reportedly rising cases of domestic violence against women, the organisation has resolved to support and resource Ghana’s Police Service in their battle to curb the menace. To wrap up activities for IWW, Vodafone donated in cash and essential office resources to the regional offices of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) in Takoradi (Western Region), Koforidua (Eastern Region), Kumasi (Ashanti Region) and Tamale (Northern Region).
Internally, the celebration kicked off with a social media blitz; female staff took to their personal social media pages to pledge their support for gender equality using the hashtag #ChooseToChallenge. Vodafone also organised a series of employee webinars which touched on a variety of pertinent topics with expert resource persons present to share critical insights. Some of the topics discussed were: Understanding women’s life cycle – from the pre-birth stage to menopause, Understanding men’s hormonal health, Women in leadership –supporting women in business in Ghana, Domestic violence and abuse, and Choose to Challenge –thriving as a woman in a man’s world.
Beyond the IWW celebrations, the company has moved its commitment a notch higher by undertaking a number of policy initiatives and engaging in a series of pragmatic activities that have given the women empowerment agenda a further shot in the arm. The company is already actively running a number of inclusion-driven programmes including; Reconnect – a programme that gives internships and job opportunities to women who have been off the job market due to childbirth; Female Engineering Student Sponsorship Programme (FESSP) – a policy initiative, which gives internship, mentorship and job opportunities to brilliant female engineering students; as well as various digital inclusion and entrepreneurship training programmes for women.
It goes without saying that the leadership and staff of Vodafone Ghana are fully devoted to championing the drive for women’s empowerment and gender-parity. It is a cause that they are passionate about and determined to realize. In the words of the CEO, Patricia Obo-Nai, “The crusade for gender balance and women’s inclusion is one that should be of interest to all of us because closing the gender gap in the workplace, business, governance and other critical sectors of national life is a win-win for everyone as it is linked to economic growth and development.”