RSCE Celebrates Women Leadership in Times of Crisis

10 Mar 2021

RSCE Celebrates Women Leadership in Times of Crisis

Mark Kaheru

08 March 2021, Entebbe; The COVID-19 response has highlighted the power and effectiveness of women’s leadership in responding and adapting during crisis. Many women have taken on extra roles not only in the workplace but also at home as they had to juggle between work and life balance.

This observation was articulated very clearly during the Regional Service Centre Entebbe (RSCE) virtual celebration of the International Women’s Day under the theme “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 World”.

The RSCE invited a panel of women in leadership to discuss the theme of the day. The panel comprised of Nathalie Ndongo-Seh, UN Resident Coordinator to the Kingdom of Eswatini, Ms. Chhaya Kapilashrami, Director of the Human Resources Services Division, Office of Support Operations, United Nations Department of Operational Support, Ms. Suzette Schultz, Chief of Service, Investigations Division, UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and Linda Forsberg, Learning Enabler, Leadership Coach, Facilitator, Change Catalyst and Trusted Advisor.

 “In many ways the pandemic has created mental physical stress and fear of the unknown which particularly impacted women. I know that while particularly in the UN, women have been part of delivering very important mandates across the world, I think it's been particularly difficult for women as they perform many different roles, take on the extra burdens, but often forget to take care of themselves. I think on a global perspective the pandemic has set women back economically and this is something that will have to address in our response to COVID-19 and we will have to figure out a way to mitigate and even overcome some of the setbacks” commented Ms. Ms. Chhaya Kapilashrami.

The event that was open to all staff members at the UN Entebbe Support Base was moderated by Irene Zulu-Chabala, a long serving woman in the United Nations with about 30 years of service under her belt.

The virtual event, attended by almost 200 staff members was opened by the Director a.i. RSCE, Mr. Paulin Djomo who remarked that the 8th of March is an important day for all women in the world and encouraged everyone to ensure that women’s day is celebrated every single day.

He also pointed out that “To even begin to imagine a better future, we must address Gender Equality. At the RSCE, we have achieved an overall ratio of 53% female to 47 % male staff. This is in line with the Secretary General’s call for gender parity and a testimony to our commitment to Gender Equality. We still need to work hard to achieve 50/50 at certain levels within the structure.”

On the disproportionate burden carried by the women during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Nathalie Ndongo-Seh said “I want to let them know that first of all their sacrifices, their plight, their fight have not been in vain and the entire world has noticed their courage their bravery, their resilience, their strengths that are so obvious to all of us. I thank them for empowering the next generation of girls and boys we always or sometimes don't think about boys but boys also I hope will be inspired by all what their mother and sisters are representing to them to make the world better.”

All the panelists were in sync when it came to the question of Work life balance. They all echoed each other when they pointed out that it is important to take care of oneself mentally, emotionally, physically and to build the support system and networks that you need to pick yourself up and to motivate you during difficult times.

A number of women and men also recorded short videos and sent in quotes that were played during the event on their view on Generation Equality – Women leadership in times of crisis. (See PDF below)

The event was crowned off by a poem by Vicky Akech and a song by Andrew Oundo and Eusmenio Dos Santos, all staff members of the RSCE.