Bank in women empowerment drive
STANDARD Lesotho Bank’s Head of Personal and Business Banking, Selloane Malie says their partnership with the Lionesses of Africa initiative is aimed at empowering women and achieving gender equality in the sustainable development of Lesotho.
The Lioness of Africa website quotes the organisation’s founder and editor-in-chief, Melanie Hawken, as saying that they are an “online community of Lionesses (which) is all about women entrepreneurs sharing their stories, knowledge and experiences, inspiring one another to reach greater heights, and connecting with one another for accelerated success”.
“We are a community which welcomes young women entrepreneurs of tomorrow who are looking for advice, insight, and a platform where they can promote and share their own business ideas.
“Lionesses of Africa is where today’s successful women entrepreneurs from across the African continent get the chance to send the elevator down to the next generation of young women who will follow in their footsteps.”
Speaking at the launch of the Standard- Lioness of Africa partnership in Maseru on Friday, Ms Malie described the economic empowerment of women as “one of the world’s most promising areas of investment”.
“It is the biggest emerging market and that is why Standard Lesotho Bank has decided to launch this programme.”
She said the economic empowerment of women entailed women’s economic rights including equal access to ownership and control of land, property, productive assets and resources including finance as access to equal bases to decent work and full and productive employment.
Ms Malie said women’s economic empowerment also entailed autonomy and full access to decision making and all economic decisions that affected women’s lives as well as those of their families and communities.
“Women’s economic empowerment generates a tremendous deviance for the society and like Hillary Clinton said that women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.
“So as Standard Lesotho Bank we recognised that we need to tap into this reservoir in order to contribute to the country’s economic growth.”
‘Mannete Ramaili, a board representative, said women make the majority of the small, micro and medium enterprises which is the sector that created the most jobs in Lesotho.
She said the country would not have one of the largest textile industries in the world if it was not for the women who worked in the sector.
“We have the skills, resources and knowledge we need to start producing and getting into competition with big industries outside the country,” she said, adding that women in business should learn to separate their businesses from their families and be very assertive because business was not about spending but making money.
For her part, Ms Hawken, said the Lionesses of Africa was an online community that was passionate about women’s entrepreneurship in Africa and supported the start-up dreams of all women on the continent.
She said the organisation created an exciting new era for women entrepreneurship in Africa, adding that it was all about sharing, inspiring and connecting.
“There is a strong camaraderie that exists among women entrepreneurs; it comes from experience and the knowledge that the world of business is tough out there for women in Africa.
“None of us individually has all the answers but it’s likely that other women entrepreneurs have faced similar challenges or business dilemmas on their road to success. Their insights and perspectives can be an invaluable resource,” she said
Ms Hawken said they helped future women entrepreneurs with advice, insight, inspiration and a platform where they can promote and share their business ideas and companies.