SIS on women empowerment

HARARE - A number of empowerment programmes for women have emerged over the past years with conferences and workshops held to ensure that women and the girl child realise their power and break the proverbial glass ceiling.

Seminars held at different forums including the church, educational institutions and some nite clubs were all aimed at enabling women to achieve their full empowerment and equal position in society.

However, some seminars tend to tell women to basically change into men by discarding all their feminine traits and soldier ahead in life as imitations of men. Some seminars inform women to overcompensate and be submissive in the home or at work, awarding respect to males by doing as they wish so as to live in harmony.

The submissive strategy is often used to become non-threatening to men and eventually achieve what they want in the end. Most women often discover in horror that they do not achieve anything by overcompensating but they are simply made lesser humans.

However, there is a tide of new women empowerment teachings around the world that are specifying the need for woman to realise their feminine power and not to wait to get a nod from anyone to achieve this.

These seminars are urging women to go forth in their stilettos and do their best.

A new seminar entitled Success in Stilettos (SIS) Seminars was launched in July in Zimbabwe under the leadership of media executive Maggie Mzumura. The seasoned journalist brazenly called for women executives, managers, supervisors (current and aspiring) as well as businesswomen to attend the seminar.

Mazumara said Sis seminars emphasise on female-to-female support and mentoring in harnessing "tried and tested" lessons for successful and effective leadership amongst women.

Information provided on the seminar said it was targeting upwardly mobile professional and business women seeking to achieve success and leadership in their various areas of influence, the SiS seminars will be offered quarterly in Harare, Mutare and Bulawayo.  The first seminar was held at Bronte Garden Hotel.

Aptly acronymed SIS, the seminars uphold the spirit of sisterhood by providing a platform for capacity development in personal, professional and business where women can exchange experiences, transfer skills and share information and knowledge.

“The world is increasingly becoming appreciative of the kind of leadership that women bring to the table. Traits that women have used for centuries to raise families and in their communities such as intuitiveness, inclusivity, great interpersonal skills, empathy, communicativeness among others are sought after in today’s world.

“Likewise we need platforms that can appreciate, harness and further develop such. We need platforms that are conversant with the global and local trends and respond to needs on the ground. This is exactly what SiS seminars seek to achieve,” said Mazumara.

“Forget about the belief that women do not support each other, the Sis seminars are here to foster just that — female-to-female career support; female-to-female mentoring and networking. This is a platform where a host of tried and tested strategies, tactics, survival mechanisms and lessons that women can draw from fellow women who have trailblazed leadership paths and succeeded can be harnessed,” Mzumara said.

“It is about creating spaces where women in leadership or those aspiring to be in leadership can share, transfer and exchange, nuggets and tips, and develop their own power toolboxes for successful and effective leadership. It is also a fountain where finance and investment products and opportunities, as well as beauty trends, home improvement ideas and health matters can be discussed and showcased.”

The seminars use the ‘‘stiletto’’ in their brand name as a symbol of female elevation.

“The stiletto represents elevated femininity. The stiletto conjures up images of elegance, of height scaling, of balance and of managing on top of a precarious situation — the higher the height the more the degree of difficulty — in much the same way a woman leader juggles the many roles and responsibilities she undertakes in her home, community, at work, her business and the economy at large,” Mzumara explained.

Speakers at the fisrt seminar included the minister of Regional Integration and International Cooperation Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, business woman of the year 2011 Nancy Guzha, medical doctor Eugen Manyora, Isabel Nyarota of Old Mutual Investments, entrepreneur and lawyer Rudo Nyangulu, designer Donna Thurman, Fran Tofa and Chengetai Ndudzo.

The first seminar provided real life and practical information from Misihairambwi-Mushonga who spoke on how she managed to peddle the murky waters of politics at a difficult time in Zimbabwe. She spoke openly on her tribulations, triumphs and the importance of family, supporters and friends during some difficult times in her life. She gave advice and urged women to be who they are, accumulate knowledge and ensure they measure up to what they are set out to do.

True to her word, Mzumara’s SIS will be back again on September 27 in Harare at Bronte Hotel. A fee will be paid for the seminars to cover the costs. The Daily News attended the first seminar and the workshop looked well organised from sitting arrangements, seminar material and a journal provided by Old Mutual, proper lunch, powerful speakers and the cherry a rich lipstick in deep red.

The seminars are obviously a must attend for upward mobile women that are out to assert themselves and make a difference.

The upcoming seminar will cover topics on soft skills, powerful decisions — building your confidence and assertive skills as a woman leader, networking — converting contacts into cash and profit, leveraging effective teams through conflict management and operational success, climbing the ladder in stilettos — what you need to know about leadership styles, practices and models, women’s health: midlife transitions—don’t be caught off guard; how to prepare for and manage the changes and finance and investment, basic car care practical tips for ladies, and home improvement.

Mzumara said the seminars would be inclusive, “seminars will also reach out to professional and business women in other parts of the country. To this end SIS seminars will also be held in Bulawayo and Mutare on dates to be announced.

“Dress code for the seminar is smart and stilettos —“as high or as low as you can manage.”

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