What does it take to be a Wonder Woman?
For our purposes, a Wonder Woman has to have that extra edge over other successful, hardworking women – of which there are many. They have to have innovated something, achieved a ‘first’ – ie done something for the first time – or be exceptionally multi-tasking and have multi-disciplinary capabilities.
Investing In Women first introduced the concept of 7 Wonder Women at its London launch. Although it was not an awards ceremony event, we honoured 7 of such women from around the world and asked each of them to define what it means to invest in women.
Today, Anita has chosen to introduce Lorna Mae Johnson, to inspire your choices of nominees. Lorna, also a former Olympian, is President and Executive Director of the Lorna M. Johnson Global Institute, an international organisation focused on economic opportunities in trade, investment, and empowerment.
Lorna, please can you define what investing in women means to you?
Investing in women means giving women the tools to excel.
Over the last 20 years, I have personally witnessed such advancement through technology and its empowerment of African communities. I have dedicated a career to advocating greater investment in financial inclusion and economic opportunities for women and youth.
Nowhere has this had more noticeable outcomes than Africa. Key to adaptation of technology is matching capabilities with market gaps.
Women, who traditionally have not been given access to labour markets, are now enabled to finance business ventures on their own even when access to capital has been a challenge.
Impressive. Now we ‘wonder’, what’s next?
(Laughs). Later this month, I will be a panelist at the 22nd African Securities and Exchange Association meeting in Lagos, where 28 exchanges serving 32 economies will convene to discuss African economic recovery.
I intend to advocate greater financial inclusion and regional coordination of technologies and women’s business network. Despite linguistic, economic, and traditional differences, we, as women of African heritage can leverage our collective power of empathy to overcome shared challenges.
From Los Angeles to Lagos and everywhere in between we must lean into conversations and support adaptation of technology, which by its very nature will allow more qualified women to participate in the economy.
Too often we find successful African women overlook their potential as change-makers. In short, Africa needs greater sisterhood.
The time has come for us not just to learn from global movements but to also to drive them. For instance, blockchain, the shared economy, and micro-financing are just a few stimulators for change we must harness together.