#GirlsTakeOver: Plan Ghana’s alumni take over leadership roles at AstraZeneca

BY: Zadok Kwame Gyesi

As part of the global #GirlsTakeover initiative, aimed at calling to action for radical social and political change to tear down barriers of discrimination and prejudice that continue to hold girls back, two young female alumni of Plan International Ghana have been appointed to serve as Country Lead and Senior Sales Manager of AstraZeneca Ghana.

As part of the initiative, each year, girls are made to step into the roles of media, entertainment, business and politics for a day to demand equal power, freedom and representation for girls and young women.

Through the #GirlsTakeover, girls occupy spaces where they are rarely seen or heard and making it clear they have the right to be there without being silenced or ignored.

For the takeovers in 2021, the two young women, Roberta Quansah and Rahama Issah, both pursuing different science courses at the university level, are beneficiaries of Plan Ghana’s “GirlsTakeOver” initiative.

Acting in their respective capacities as Country Lead and Senior Sales Manager of AstraZeneca Ghana, the two have inaugurated nebulisation centres at three different hospitals - LEKMA Hospital, Police Hospital and the Port Medical Centre.

Speaking at a virtual meeting, AstraZeneca's Country President for the African Cluster, with responsibility for South Africa, Sub Sahara and French, Madam Barbara Nel, called on young ladies to have self-confidence to be able to attain leadership positions to contribute to sustainable development.

She said women deserved equal privileges to succeed in life and called on all stakeholders in Ghana and beyond to give equal opportunities to women as they gave to their male counterparts.

Plan Ghana’s alumni take prime roles of AstraZeneca Ghana

The Communications Specialist for Plan International Ghana, Ms Christiana Asante-Nkansah, explained that through the “GirlsTakeOver”, many girls had had their capacities built in leadership skills.

She explained, for instance, that in 2020 two of Plan International female beneficiaries took over the roles of the Australian High Commissioner and the Swiss Ambassador, assisting in commissioning some projects as well as attending some high level meetings.

For her part, Ms Quansah, observed that lack of self-confidence hinder many girls from attaining their goals in life.

She has, therefore, appealed to Plan Ghana to extend the “GirlsTakeOver” initiative to all villages in the country so as to benefit many girls in the country.

“Women naturally are caring and ready to assist always so when given leadership positions, they can do it better as compared to males,” she noted.

Plan Ghana’s alumni take prime roles of AstraZeneca Ghana

Expressing her view on why a lot of women don’t occupy leadership positions, Ms Issah, said it was as a result of some cultural practices and perceptions especially in Africa that women could not play active part in leadership roles.

“With the way women are underestimated in societies, it makes it difficult for a woman to approve her fellow woman who comes out to challenge the male counterpart over position,” she pointed out.

Plan Ghana’s alumni take prime roles of AstraZeneca Ghana

She is of the view that sensitisation will help to educate the public on the need to support women leaders.

“If a woman comes out for a top position, I think women should also come out collectively to support her, by educating themselves to understand how important when a woman gets to the top, it is,” she noted.

The Country Lead of AstraZeneca Office in Ghana, Mr Mawuli Atiemo, said there was the need for all to work to ensure gender equality in all areas of work.