Reflections from Yawa Hansen-Quao

Author | Speaker | Leadership | Consultant | Visionary |Executive Director | Founder of Emerging Public Leaders |An avid reader | Mother Wife | Lover of music and dance

Written by Joana Chemel | PICHA (Extracted directly from the Against Gravity Podcast)

Reflection 1: The World’s Opportunity

There is an opportunity for us to pause and reflect how far women have come and how far women can go. There is an opportunity for us to enter into critical assessment and reckoning of the things that need to be done to continue to make the world a safe space for women. There is a huge potential to amplify the progress that has been for the benefit of the coming generation

Reflection 2: Women behind the Scenes

Women have different aspirations, goals and dreams. Some are called to be in the public light and others also called to create change away from the public eyes. Seeing more women rise as public leaders is very inspiring, given the spaces in which women have operated over time. However, it is worth noting and celebrating the fact that some women have and prefer to work behind the scenes, are comfortable behind the scenes and wish to remain behind the scene.

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Reflection 3: In what ways have you muted yourself?

Don’t mute your voice. Neither should you mute the voice of a woman. Your voice is your power, an essential tool of your being. We must never contribute to the muting of the voices of others. We must not be found in ways that make us or force others to shrink themselves just to fit. We must not stop ourselves and neither should we allow others to stop us. It is important to note that just as you respond to your name when called, muting yourself is essentially deleting yourself from being here. It is the essence of your being. Not using your voice is essentially saying that you are absent.

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Reflection 4: Facing the society

Have you ever grown up in a multicultural environment? Ever faced ridicule based on your features and perhaps your unconventional personality? Have you ever muted yourself to fit or to survive another day? Have you ever found yourself resenting who you are and what you are like? Today’s world is not entirely kind. Social media to some extent, is considered to be even worse. This is the kind of generation we live in, where one has to build psychological, emotional, spiritual and physical faculties to withstand the harsh dealing of living in a society. This requires the right nurturing environment, that helps to unleash potential.

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Reflection 5: What is a Good Society?

The power of quality education in building a strong society, an economy or nation cannot be overemphasized. Africans and African women for that matter must become beneficiaries of an educational system that inspires the continent’s next generation of ethical leaders for the change we need. Creating a just, fair system which raises leaders and citizens to act right, do right and report those who didn’t do right brings accountability to the table. It also creates space for stakeholder consultations and more importantly, a society where values and ethics are upheld

Reflection 7: Emerging Leaders and Public service

Public Service is a high calling. Working for the government is not easy. Most young people these days do not find public service as viable career options. The essence of policy is found in bringing innovation to scale. It makes impact, has the ability to affect the masses and create a generational impact. Emerging women leaders are an essential part of the future talent pipeline. Leaders who are ethical and competent to steer the affairs of the nation make good decisions and choices in service of their citizens so that one will want to or have to flee it.

Building strong state institutions requires strong talent, capable drivers of change and the lack of importance placed on governmental work by young people needs to change. In creating peaceful, prosperous and just societies, we need to create space to build lives with resources to fuel acceptance of the dreams of its citizens

Reflection 6: Women’s Network

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Every woman is a leader. Leaders support others to be more than themselves yet sometimes, we forget that leaders also need to be supported. Imagine being told to change behavior in order to be liked and loved. Networks that support women to be themselves and be aggressive in the pursuit of their goals and dreams are essential to the personal and professional development of the woman in the society. A network that provides the support and resources to unleash women’s potential especially in public leadership. Now more than ever do we need strong, well resourced women networks that enable women to thrive in their respective domains. 

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