The global pandemic has exposed the indifferences and inequality in our economic system. Knowing the degree to which crisis affect women in leadership is a key step to understanding the challenges it imposes on women at the grassroot level. Women leaders need to unite now more than ever to have conversations, share best practices and find solutions to depressing challenges within the business ecosystem.
In line with this, the Alliance for Integrity in partnership with the National Board for Small Scale Industries and the Registrar General’s Department hosted the third Women for Integrity Series (WISe) targeting women in leadership to discuss on the need for personal and corporate integrity in challenging times. Consequently, the third event was themed “Women Maintaining Integrity in Challenging Times”. The meeting brought together fourteen women leaders coming from the financial sector, health sector, academia, state regulatory authorities and the private sector to discuss and set a clear agenda on integrity measures when faced with unusual corruption threats.
Mad. Lysbeth Osae-Omane, State Attorney and Assistant Registrar General, in setting the tone for the discussions stated that aside women being nurturers, they constituted half the population of the world and therefore there was the need for women to take their place in public discourse on the promotion of integrity. Referring to the UNIFEM Report Primers on Gender and Democratic Government on “Corruption, Accountability and Gender: Understanding the connection”, she emphasised that corruption creates barriers to accessing basic public services, reduces women’s access to markets and credit as well as reinforces women’s social and economic marginalisation. Referring to the same report, she noted that there were gender differences in tolerance for corruption and that higher levels of women’s public and political participation can lead to lower levels of corruption.
Hence, she called on women to willingly take up higher roles, especially in the public and political sphere to encourage the formulation and implementation of policies that will promote and strengthen personal and corporate integrity within the general business ecosystem.
In a sprightly and interactive manner, participants took turns to share personal experiences and emphasised the need for women to take a lead role in ensuring and maintaining integrity in their various environments. Participants opined that integrity standards are non-negotiable no matter the circumstances and agreed that, maintaining business integrity presents a strategic advantage as it strengthens the corporate relationship with associates. The point was made strongly that, it is even in challenging times that there was a greater need for integrity and compliance to policies and laws.
In closing the discussions, Madam Osae-Omane encouraged women leaders to set up limits and targets for staff as a means of minimising and monitoring corruption risk in these unusual times. Gideon Mankralo, Network Manager for Ghana and Nigeria of the Alliance for Integrity, urged participants to sign on to the Alliance for Integrity multi-stakeholder initiative so that we can collectively achieve a responsible business ecosystem that works for women and men equally. He entreated participants to download and use TheIntegrityApp to help them build compliance capacity for their organisations or improve on same.
Authors: Gideon Mankralo and Abigail Gyabaa