March 9th was supposed to be like every other working day. I was going to carry on with my daily activities and, of course, join the webinar at 1 pm, no big deal ! Well, it did not turn out the way I initially planned.

The BOG webinar was a memorable event- the motivation I needed to be resilient and keep on chasing my dreams no matter what.

Listening to every speaker made me understand I am worth it. I can achieve anything I put my mind to as long as I set realistic goals. This is a key takeout from this year’s international women’s theme #choosetochallenge.

I learnt that it is essential for a woman to add value in the workplace consistently. To add value, you must continually invest in capacity development. It is okay to have beauty and brains, but you must constantly build on your beauty, especially your brain.

Bringing men to speak at an international women’s day webinar was unfamiliar territory for me. For a minute, “I thought of what they were going to say”?  Well, they had a lot to say, and it all made sense.

Women need to remember that nobody will know the challenges they are facing except they communicate. Communicating the challenges with line managers is very important and it does not portray weakness.

These days there is so much pressure to be perfect. We are expected to put on a brave face and not to openly talk about the inner wars we are fighting. It is really okay not to have it all together. Take a break, re-strategize, and move forward.

As a woman who hopes to have a family one day, listening to every woman made me see that building, a home, and a career is possible. They have given me the motivation to keep going. To achieve a balanced life, I need to improve myself, work harder, set the right structures, and get a sound support system.

I think the only way we will progress in life is when women support other women. Once we learn how to be genuinely kind and supportive for no other reason other than we each DESERVE kindness and support in this world, we will see actual progress.

Do not assume everyone is a threat to you in some way, approach every situation with the possibility of a new friendship, new opportunity, new sisterhood. I believe these steps will make the world a better place!

Finally, excellence will always defeat sexism so every woman must focus on delivering results. We will take the conversation forward while we continue to hope and deliberate on efforts to ensure that Nigerian and international companies put in suitable infrastructures and culture to encourage inclusion in the workplace.

-Olamide Bale

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