LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Stanbic Bank has marked International Women’s Day 2020 with its annual Anakazi Banking Women of the Year awards.
The Women of the Year Awards were founded by Karen Nakawala to bestow exceptional Zambian women with the recognition they deserve for remarkable achievements in their respective fields.
Women from across the country representing various fields attended the awards ceremony at Lusaka’s Intercontinental Hotel on March 6, 2020.
The 2020 Anakazi Banking Woman of the Year award went to Susan Mukandawire Mulikita, while the Zambia Daily Mail’s Cynthia Kalonde Nyati received the Woman of the Year in Information and Broadcasting Award. Dr Patricia Shingombe received the Woman of the Year Award in Health, and Emma Chello was awarded Woman of the Year in infrastructure.
Speaking at the event, Zambia Women of the Year Award Chairperson Chilufya Phiri said this year’s theme “Each for Equal” meant that everyone had the opportunity to make significant change in terms of equality.
“Each of us has the opportunity - the responsibility - to make change where women are concerned by removing biases, prejudices and unnecessary differences so that women can have the same platform that men have to reach their full potential,” she said.
“The question we must ask ourselves is: ‘how am I supporting women empowerment? How am I bringing up my girl child? How am I treating my female subordinates at work? Am I bringing them up to the level where I would like to see them be?’ It is simple things like this that can change the world for the better.”
2020 International Women’s Day comes a quarter of a century from the declaration of the need for gender quality in all areas made at the Beijing conference.
Stanbic Bank Chief Executive Officer Leina Gabaraane said there was little achieved in gender equality since the Beijing declaration.
“There still exist many countries and institutions in the world that do not support gender quality,” he said. “To this day, we still find ourselves having certain roles reserved for certain genders and not others. As people in positions of leadership, we must introspect and ask ourselves what we have done to promote true equality of the sexes.
“It is for this reason that I am pleased to announce that as Stanbic Bank, we are not only a leading bank in terms of profitability and commercial value, but we have also taken the lead in our social responsibility matters such as empowering women in Zambia, our home, and indeed across the globe.”
Stanbic Bank is a signatory to several international polices aimed at promoting gender equality and women empowerment including the United Nation’s ‘He for She’ campaign for the advancement of gender equality, and the UN commission for Africa Leadership Fund intended to foster growth for women and support women leadership across the continent.
“This year Stanbic Bank posted some of the largest profits ever seen in the history of banking in Zambia,” he explained. “What is interesting about that achievement is that Stanbic continues to have more leaders in leadership positions, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we have managed to achieve this now. I believe it is as a result of our focus on equality and ensuring we have women at the helm of our organisation. These results affirm to us we need to keep extracting the value that women possess to drive our institution and the country forward.
“It is for this reason that we saw the need to expand our support for women into a unique product that is Anakazi Banking. This is a robust and rich platform which looks to provide women with increased access to finance and capacity building. We believe that knowledge and exposure are very cardinal to success and with them, we are confident there is nothing that can stop our women from excelling in their careers.”
On the social front, Stanbic Bank has been building modern mothers’ shelters at rural clinics across the country to provide prenatal and postnatal care for mothers and their infants to help reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in rural areas.
“We recently also launched the Stanbic Buy-A-Brick campaign of which the Republican President HE Edgar Lungu is a patron to help provide decent housing for vulnerable families in society. What is striking about this project is that most of our partners on this project are women-led community federations, which is encouraging.
“It is our belief that with these modest contributions to women empowerment we will be contributing in our small way towards closing the gender equality gap.”
Mr Gabaraane said that he hoped the award winners could inspire other women to rise to be the best they could be in their work and break the shackles of inequality. He added that men had a responsibility to remove the unfair barriers to success women face to foster a equal society.
“Today we are changing the narrative from ‘behind every successful man there is a strong woman’ to ‘behind every successful woman there is a strong man.’