Many females making it to top managerial positions, especially in academia is yet to become commonplace.
Currently, only 1% of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields occupy top managerial positions in academia.
This has largely been due to societal, cultural and personal barriers and most notably, personal barriers.
To address the issue, an initiative was birthed in 2017 by a group of females with diverse backgrounds and at different levels of their academic status, led by former Vice-Chancellor and project Chairperson of KNUST, Prof William Otoo Ellis.
This led to the formation of the “Executive Leadership Centre for Professional Women” (ExCel) project at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
The first Leadership workshop of the team focused on “Mid-Career Females in Academia” with funding from the Association of Commonwealth Universities in 2020 and KNUST.
This second workshop is being funded by the KNUST Research Fund (KReF) under the auspices of the Office of Grants and Research (OGR).
It is focused on Leadership Workshop for Early Career Females in Academia. It seeks to equip early career females in academia with management, leadership, and professional skills.
The 3-day workshop was under the theme: “Bridging the Gender Gap and Leadership for Women in STEM”.
It had twenty-five applicants coming from KNUST and other major universities in Ghana.
The topics presented by renowned professionals from both academia and corporate organizations included: handling problems in a high-performance workplace environment, personal grooming/branding: building confidence in a professional workplace environment and mentorship in career progression: A mentor and a mentee.
Other topics such as handling problems in high-performance work environments, grants and grantsmanship and work-life balance were also discussed.
Project Lead, Dr. Florence Ellis said “it is believed that these modules will build the capacity of our proud participants towards developing their full potential in the service to their institutions.“We envisaged that this leadership workshop will ultimately be a pride of KNUST and Ghana at large and possibly in terms of capacity building for effective leadership in the whole of West Africa,” she was hopeful.
Pro Vice-chancellor, Prof. Ellis Owusu-Dabo encouraged the participants to build a strong mentor-mentee relationship.
“I’m talking about simple things like availing yourself to mentor and to be a mentee. Sometimes we mentor people we don’t even know. We don’t talk about things. We need to find out who the individual is.
“You have to be candid with your mentor and mentees that you don’t know. Be honest. And once you are honest and you admit that you don’t know and you go and research that is a success because now you have added knowledge to what you already know,” he said.
One of the facilitators and head of women’s desk at Ecobank Ghana Limited, Dr. Loretta Sarpong encouraged participants to share their success stories for a progressive career.
“Own your success stories. Share them to encourage and mentor other people out there. Men do it anyway, so what’s wrong with us telling others about great accomplishments?” she advised.
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