As the world commemorates this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) with the theme, ‘Breaking the Bias’, female directors in Nigeria have been urged to leverage on their position and status in the corporate community to champion the fight against imposter syndrome among women.
“Equity is an outcome not a strategy or an initiative – but IoD can lead the way. That means taking bold actions now to challenge old patterns of behavior, dismantle oppressive systems, and build a new equitable future free of Imposter Syndrome,” said Ajoritsedere Awosika, chairman, Access Bank Plc.
Awosika, who was the guest speaker at the executive coaching program initiated by the Women Director Development Committee (WDDC) of the Institute of Directors Nigeria (IoD) tagged, Tabletop Conversations: ‘Overcoming the Imposter Syndrome in a rapidly changing world,’ said it takes competence to not just spot but also stop incompetence, hence women must move to the era of competence with value acquisition of their gender without having a mindset for preferential treatment.
“As women, we must come together to understand, know and accept, whether we like it or not that we live in a world that values confidence, sometimes over confidence may not be advantageous and so we must create a balance,” she said, stating that women must be prepared to stop the undefined, mixed and disproportionate impact of imposter syndrome on the female gender.
“Should we then say going forward from the year 2022 we are going to be seeing more women at the top, and as women we continue to demystify the topic and work with confidence and continue to produce results without any pity party from employers, bosses or otherwise,” she said.
According to Awosika, imposter syndrome can disproportionately affect high achieving people, as well as other cadres of women who in general find it difficult to accept their achievements. She posits that the syndrome is fueled by self-doubt, inability to realistically accept one’s competence and skills, attributing one’s success to external factors and the act of berating one’s performance. “Don’t allow your gender to define your agenda,” she stated.
‘Debola Osibogun, chairman, Women Directors Development Committee (WDDC) of the IoD, said the theme was chosen as a means of highlighting the challenges of self-doubt and feeling of insecurity faced by most women in leadership positions. She posits that the theme seeks to highlight the causes of imposter syndrome and how best women in leadership roles can overcome them.
According to Osibogun, the core feature of the executive coaching program is to create a platform for learning, empowerment, and development for female leaders from all walks of life.
“The Core mandate of the Women Directors Development Committee of IoD Nigeria is to promote the development of women leaders. We are tasked to be at the frontline of advocacy programs for female executives, that is, to develop, execute and promote programs that would empower women leaders, and enable them acquire the relevant knowledge and skills to compete effectively in leadership”.