The Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ghana, Her Excellency, Hannah Tetteh, has challenged Ghanaian women to break the glass ceiling in global affairs careers, but warned that, this would only be realized when young women adopt the right approach to life.
She made this comment when she took part in a virtual Role Modelling discussion organised by the Institute of International Affairs, Ghana (GhIIA.org), themed, “Showcasing successful women in Global roles”.
The former foreign affairs minister urged young women to develop the right life attitudes, skills and ethics that would propel them to the highest heights in their professional careers.
“There is no substitute for competence and hard work, if you want to excel in your careers”, she cautioned. “Though there are increasing affirmative action policies in the United Nations for instance, merit is still they key recruitment factor. Your success in global institutions would not come on a platter of gendered sympathy”, she warned.
She bemoaned the attitudes of some of the current generation, who choose to ride on privilege rather than hard work, adding that, such an attitude has no place in international institutions.
“It’s unfortunate,” she said, “ that, some in the current generation shun hard work in expectation of easy doorways that must be opened through family or other kinds of connections. This would deprive you of the right attitude you need for self-development, which is a key factor for progress in merit based international institutions.”
Touching further on the skills necessary for the field of diplomacy, Her Excellency, Hannah Tetteh, who is presently the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the African Union, urged young women with aspirations to careers in global affairs to develop excellent communication and linguistic abilities as those are vital prerequisites for a successful diplomatic career.
“Communication and negotiation are the vehicles that drive diplomacy. Honing your communication and negotiation skills would prove priceless in your future global roles”, she counselled.
“You would also need strong mentorship and networks of those who blazed the trail you want to tread”, she concluded.
She advised young women to take language training seriously, as an ability to communicate in multiple languages was a crucial ingredient for success in international institutions.
“Ghana is surrounded by francophone countries, and an international career in the sub-region and beyond would be severely hampered by language limitations. You must strive to become bilingual”, she implored.
The panellists for the event also included H.E Harriet Siaw-Boateng (Ghana’s Ambassador to Belgium and Permanent Representative to the European Union), Ms. Adelaide Asante (Chief Operating Officer African Institute of Mathematical Sciences – AIMS Ghana), and Dr. Lucy Agyapong (Associate Dean of Engineering at Academic City College).
They advised the current generation of young women to prepare themselves to seize the opportunities of their era to make a mark in their professional endeavours. They extended a hand of mentorship to those who are willing to learn from the older generation.
The event, is one of a series, organised by GhIIA.org, to mark International Women’s day. It aimed to celebrate the achievements of Ghanaian women in the fields of diplomacy and international relations; provide a role modelling opportunity for young women in international relations; and raise awareness for gender empowerment in Ghana and Africa.