Ladies and gentlemen, I write to add to the many voices that seeks to justify the inclusion of women as we climax the celebration of International Women’s Day. Our theme for 2024 #INSPIREINCLUSION, signifies our commitment to creating a world where every woman’s potential is fully realized, and this is not just about women—it’s about creating a more just, prosperous, and sustainable world for everyone.

It is worth noting that Women constitute roughly half of the population in Africa and in Ghana. 1 in 4 female adults in Africa starts or manages a business, making the continent one of the highest in terms of women entrepreneurs across the world. SME’s account for up to 90% of all businesses in Africa and women own about 1/3 of all registered African SMEs. Women invest as much as 90% of their incomes into their families and communities.

Indeed, “Women are the center of production, but at the periphery of benefits, women count but are not counted”, and we need to count her in, for nothing could be more relevant for women of today who are charting unknown territories pertinently and fearlessly. Be it in ecommerce, education, fashion, retail, fitness, job creation, agriculture among others, women are proceeding with smartness and unrestrained enthusiasm to change the world around them, making a difference with their ideas, seeking solutions that have never been sought, fighting diseases and social norms, running successful ventures, generating employment for many, and giving rise to new sustainable ecosystems.

We must therefore not merely acknowledge women; we must actively count her in—count her in into boardrooms, startups, supply chains, and decision-making circles. When we count her in, we count ourselves in for progress, prosperity, and a more equitable future. It is worth noting that, the 21st-century woman is characterized by her multifaceted identity, embodying strength, resilience, and versatility. She challenges traditional norms, advocating for equality and empowerment while embracing diversity and inclusion. Ladies and Gentlemen, the 21st-century woman is tech-savvy, well-educated and actively contributes to shaping a more progressive and inclusive society.

Why wouldn’t society count her in? The world, in recent times, has witnessed a shift in the usual and often-accepted narrative of women being the bosses at the kitchen, to now playing the ‘boss-ladies’ in the boardroom as well performing other leading roles in the corporate world. I speak to these 5 key areas which summarizes the reasons where we must “Count Her In” to Accelerate Gender Equality Through Economic Empowerment.

1. The Power of Economic Empowerment:
  |> It is said that the best form of empowerment is economic power! Economic empowerment is not a buzzword; it’s a catalyst for transformation. When we empower women economically, we unlock a cascade of positive effects.
  |> Imagine a world where every woman has access to capital, skills, and opportunities. That world is within our grasp, and so we must count her in.

2. The Ripple Effect:
o When a woman starts a business, she doesn’t just create jobs; she ignites hope. Her success reverberates through her family, community, and nation and this is too beautiful to ignore, Let’s therefore amplify these ripples, to create a tidal wave of change.

3. Breaking Barriers:
  |>We must dismantle barriers that hinder women’s economic participation. These barriers include discriminatory laws, cultural norms, and unequal access to resources. Let’s be architects of change, building bridges to opportunity and hand-holding every woman to make it to the top.

4. Investing in Women:
  |> Investing in women isn’t charity; it’s an investment in humanity’s future.
  |> Let’s invest in education, mentorship, and networks. Let’s provide women with the tools to thrive.

5. Policy and Practice: Gender Action Plans
 |> Policies matter. Let’s advocate for gender-responsive policies that level the playing field. But policies alone won’t suffice. We need action—action in boardrooms, let’s have actions in our classrooms, and at homes, let’s bring in our boy child to understand the importance of their sisters and to share roles equitably. We must create the change we want to see, and that change starts now and it starts with you and me!
To all the Strong and Stronger Women and Ladies, what can we do differently from today to be counted? I will leave us with some 4 principles to move from living an ordinary life to an extraordinary one!


#1. Be Resilient towards your dreams:

Don’t ever surrender, no matter how daunting the road may seem. Even when it feels as though everything is against you, remember that it is when life pushes us to our limits that we are forced to push back. This is the moment in which greatness emerges. Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not, nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not, the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. – Calvin Coolidge

#2. Don’t be afraid of taking risks!
If there’s something inside of you begging for attention, don’t ignore it. It may seem safer and easier to follow a path that is more predictable, but you’ll never experience true fulfillment if you don’t allow yourself to take a risk occasionally. Conquer your fear of failure by developing your inner strength. Conquer your fear of inadequacy, by replacing limiting beliefs with empowering ones. And conquer your fear of being unlovable by being vulnerable in your relationships. Please remember, it is only the bold and the fearless, that will be able to go from ordinary to extraordinary.

#3. Be vulnerable to learn It’s okay not to have all the answers and it’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” Being vulnerable doesn’t make us weak – it makes us human. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we open the door for others to do the same. This is how deep and meaningful relationships are built. Feeding your mind with new ideas, learning new skills and constantly improving on your weaknesses puts you in a growth mindset that will take you to the heights of success.

#4. Keep a positive attitude / always do the right thing. Focus on what you have rather than on what you lack. Be grateful – a grateful heart attracts more things, be authentic, be original – there’s only one you! By keeping a positive attitude and focusing on all that we have, we can gradually create the life of our dreams. ! Don’t live the same day over and over and call that, LIFE. Life is about evolving mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually on daily basis.
Let’s learn to embrace passion in every task, turning challenges into opportunities. When we love what we do, every step becomes a dance, every challenge an opportunity, and every moment, a masterpiece!

In conclusion, let us be relentless advocates for gender equality. Let us count her in, not just today, but every day. Let us commit to bridging the gender divide. And to every woman, I want us to position ourselves to be counted. For when we empower women, we empower humanity. By empowering women economically, we pave the way for a brighter, more equitable world—one where everyone thrives. Thank you very much, and let’s inspire inclusion together. 🌟🙌


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