World Cafe ReCap
AWiB kicked off its monthly event this year with its annual “AWiB Listens” program entitled “Being a Woman in Contemporary Ethiopia”. Using a methodology called ‘World Café’, created in the late 1990s, it is a system that is geared towards fostering open communication and information sharing in a comfortable setting. This year’sAWiB’s World Café tried to get its audiences’ basic understanding of what it means to be a woman of this time and era, considering all the possible obstacles and prospects. The idea was to get members and non-members alike to give AWiB feedback as to how the association is doing, what it must do to improve and what additional programs and areas it must focus on advancing itself. Below are the three questions the audience was asked to answer and discuss as groups.
What are the challenges and opportunities for the modern Ethiopia woman on the road to success as a leader?
Many people talked about the attitude of men towards women in our given Ethiopian culture stating that there is a stereotypical way the public allocates what a woman can and can not do. It was mentioned that it is believed that women lack the ability to think for themselves and more so than often doubts her potential of doing certain things. The lack of a defined role and the issue of the family role and responsibility as a burden to women was also raised; it was also brought up that women hesitate to give responsibilities to their partners/spouses due to the lack of trust that the other party can handle the responsibility, thus placing excessive responsibilities unto themselves. It was stated that women battle with low confidence and not enough self-esteem to prepare themselves properly, updating themselves, to convince others of their potential, stating that women worry about perfection, and struggle with self-motivation and time management as well.
Of all the opportunities discussed was the fact that we now live in an era in which women have better access to education and that equal opportunity and affirmative action is recognized. The overall realization that women are adding tremendous value to businesses and that many fields that were once male dominated are being broken into by strong influential females were also among the mentioned opportunities. Technology was also brought up, along with the rate of globalization in general, as platforms that has allowed for vast information sharing benefiting women at large. AWiB was also appreciated for creating platforms such as it does for the promotion and empowerment of females, not only in leadership position, but for those looking to develop their skills and advance themselves whether in their personal or professional spheres of life.
What is AWIB’s role in mitigation / minimizing the challenges and highlighting the opportunities for the modern Ethiopia woman?
AWiB was recognized for devising a system that is working on bringing influential females to the spotlight in its aims to inspire the younger generation with its ultimate goal of changing the mindset of our community towards what we women are capable of achieving and bringing to the table. Many people thanked AWiB for the programs it provides all geared towards self-development and building leadership skills and know-how. Many ardent members actually asked for more diverse programs, and the addition of a digital system for broader sharing capabilities.
What can you do to support the development of Ethiopia women leaders?
Many people said they would consciously work at supporting females in whatever manner they can. People talked about the importance of sharing experiences and making the time to reach out to mentors if needed and if possible become a mentor themselves to whoever they can. Some stated that they would work on referring more females to business opportunities and motivate women to aspire towards the promotion of themselves in the professional arena. Of all the responses, one of the major ones mentioned was that supporting the development of women begins with the investment of the self first, and thus in order to bring lasting change, especially in becoming a role model to the youth, a women must continuously work on herself; and of course AWiB provides just that!
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