Upskilling girls and young women for the future

July 18, 2023

Our COO, Elisa Desbordes, and Josephine Anan-Ankomah, Regional Executive CESA & MD of Ecobank Kenya, spoke at the recent Women Deliver 2023 Conference in Kigali, Rwanda about empowering women for the modern workforce.

There’s a gender skills mismatch for the jobs of tomorrow which needs to be addressed. For example, even today women only have 28% of the jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) globally – those are jobs that are becoming ever more embedded and important in all businesses.

Many companies, including Ecobank, are committed to reaching 50/50 gender parity at all levels, including the senior leadership. This can only be achieved if across societies we all challenge stereotypes and ensure gender equality. Africa needs to ensure that girls and young women gain the right skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow by encouraging them to develop digital, green, soft and transferrable skills. It’s also important that they have financial skills, so that they can create wealth for themselves and the next generation. We also need to create and promote platforms to break the socio-cultural bias, such as our ‘Break the Bias’ campaign with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

The Ecobank Foundation and GPE hosted a side event at the Women Deliver 2023 Conference on July 18th on how to prepare girls and young women for the 21st century workforce.

Key messages from Josephine and Elisa’s speeches were calls for Africa’s schools and universities to create a gender equal education system that teaches the right skills for now and the future, as well as for business and education communities to work closer together to map out these skills. The importance of successful female role models in inspiring and empowering young women and girls was also highlighted.

Watch Josephine’s speech here.