“My biggest inspiration has been my Mum.”

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A blog post by Amie Sow
MD/CEO, UBA Senegal as part of the series of blogs by senior female executives in UBA to celebrate International Women’s Day  and Mother’s Day on March 8 and March 15 respectively. 
I dreamed of being a doctor until I
attempted to dissect a frog in a science class. I could not and that experience
woke me up from the dream of wanting to be a doctor.
 
Amie Sow, MD/CEO, UBA Senegal. 
 
So, I ended up a banker. Counting money is less sensitive than stitching bloody wounds.
 
But being a woman in banking also comes with its
own unique challenges. In my professional career, I have had to contend with
the prejudice of being an ambitious woman which is a universal challenge faced
by all women wanting to get to the top of their professions.
 
However, I learnt to give my very best in the
most difficult periods in my career and this taught me endurance. I learnt
determination and not to ever give up. As a child, I was in the Girl Scouts.
That has helped me as I grow up to be “always prepared” to overcome all
challenges thrown my way.
 
My biggest inspiration has been my Mum, who
taught me courage, endurance and generosity while growing up. This has stood me
out in my career progress.
 
I must admit it has not been easy as a woman in
the corporate world.
Women are
always torn between family and professional life. They have to meet their
responsibilities as mothers, wives while still shouldering the responsibilities
they have at work. It is a puzzle every woman seeking to climb the corporate
ladder must resolve.
 
Personally,
it was not easy for me but I had a goal and I have never deviated from that
goal and it is through the grace of God I made it.
 
One thing
that has kept me going professionally is that I see no
difference between female leadership and male leadership. There are no separate
targets for men and for women just the same way there are no separate degrees
for men and a different degree for women. So, women are on an equal footing
with men in the work place and must equally work hard and be equally rewarded.
 
Leadership skills are not reserved
for men. Employers must purge themselves of their innate biases against women
and let women grow up the corporate ladder to become whatever they want to
be.  Women must also believe
in themselves and realize that they
have the ability to be whatever they
want to be.

But given the
inherent skepticism about the capacity of women to succeed, women must strive to work
twice as
hard as their fellow men to get equal
recognition in the work place
. The path to success for a woman is fraught with challenges
that require an enormous amount of
courage and determination to succeed.
 
Regardless of
whatever qualifications or
charm, motivation and spirituality
a woman may possess in the work place, she must be determined to work harder
than her male colleagues to make a difference in the work place.
 
If there is one thing I have learnt and I believe
without a doubt, it is woman’s ability to lead in any area and at all levels.
We can continue to excel in the same way as men. We can continue to stumble
along the way as men. We can even fail from time to time, just as men have
failed in history. But I know for sure that we are able, to equally succeed as
men and in most cases more than they can even dream of.

 

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