Honour came the way of Nonyem Odili at the 10th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting held between June 17 and 19 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, when her essay won the first prize in a competition on women leadership.
In the presence of about 2,000 people from different parts of the world, Bangladesh Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina; and Commonwealth Secretary- General Kamalesh Sharma, presented Odili with a trophy as the winner of the first position under the 18-29 age category in the Commonwealth Women in Leadership Essay Competition, which focuses on engaging the youth in promoting gender equality and women empowerment within the Commonwealth. Tang Sze from Malaysia came second in the 15-17 age category.
A panel of 22 adjudicators, in consonance with the 10WAMM theme of ‘Women’s Leadership for Enterprise’, selected Odili’s essay, which proffers reasons and ways governments could promote women’s involvement in leadership and policy-making processes in their countries, among entries from participants across the Commonwealth’s 54 nations.
The judges note that Odili’s piece best highlights the importance and significance of having more women represented in the economy and in decision-making processes, global financial markets, leading banks and national policy making bodies.
A statement from the organisers indicates that Odili, in her essay, undertakes a comparative analysis of select countries in the Commonwealth to highlight the “overwhelming number of women” excluded from leadership positions globally; while pointing out that a progressive democracy can only be achieved with the involvement of women – the significant majority of the world’s population – in the decision making process.
“Without key implementations in place, such as education, encouraging women in leadership is like drilling an oil well with an office pin,” Odili is quoted as saying.
Another Nigerian, Edem Andah, came third in the 18-29 age category for her essay advocating an all-inclusive renewed socialisation and political education process granting women greater participation in leadership.