How young women leaders are developing their skills and building their network
The UK takes the stage in 2022, with a series of large-scale civic and cultural public engagement moments. Inspired by Her Majesty the Queen’s seventy years of service and leadership, the British Council built a network of 100 young women leaders in four countries of South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) and the UK under their Jubilee Women in the Leadership program. In partnership with Clore Social Leadership UK and the School of Leadership Foundation, the program offered emerging young women leaders a learning opportunity to develop their leadership capacity and skills through an eight-week online, self-access leadership course.
Through this program, the British Council aims to contribute to social transformation in South Asia and the UK by strengthening leadership and equal participation of women. This program gave 100 women leaders from South Asia a chance to connect and collaborate across regions, developing their ability to become influential mentors in leading interventions and supporting gender equality and women’s leadership within their sector and/or community, out of which 22 were selected from Pakistan.
“I found the course to be very inspiring and informative in guiding us towards self-reflection. I have focused on making that a general practice now, in terms of understanding my strengths and challenges and aiming to become more emotionally agile. The course’s focus on inclusivity, in terms of gender equality and uplifting the team in general, has given me greater insight into this area and what successful leaders have been doing.”- Maham Bhatti, participant WiL Programme
The program offers young women leaders a chance to understand the characteristics of mentoring that exhibit the true essence of gender equality; by creating and promoting self-reflection skills in the participants. The participants dive into their strengths as women leaders and areas of improvement to further their drive of taking charge. The program, designed with thought-provoking course material, resources, and network-building opportunities alongside one-of-its-kind mentorship, helps women leaders recognize their true potential and encourage other capable women to come forward and make space for themselves and their enterprises to flourish.
The WIL program has encouraged me to review and assess my leadership style, especially concerning managing a team and in the process make sure that I do not forget that I have to take care of myself.”- RufRuf Chaudhary, participant WiL Programme
With the first cohort “graduating”, the program has motivated 100 women ( 22 from Pakistan), to improve their capacity as leaders and to access networks that were previously out of reach. With a cross-regional approach, the Women in Leadership program has helped women learn, unlearn and relearn ideas and behaviours to achieve true gender neutrality in their workspaces. Each with a distinct style, the participants shared their achievements and failures which helped others either relate to or adopt them in their styles, creating a shared understanding of what modern leadership should look like.
“I started Digital Umbrella as a tiny social marketing agency, it has now grown and women constitute 70 percent of the workforce here. Not only will I implement what I have learned from this program, but also share those learnings with the rest of the women. It's like creating a snowball effect, we are all going to learn from each other and pass them on forward.”- Sehrish Kanwal, CEO of Digital Umbrella and participant WiL Programme
The leadership course has motivated these women leaders to take their rightful place at the table and do their very best in further creating spaces for women, economically and in the workforce. Considering women make up 48 percent of the total population but constitute only 20 percent of the entire workforce, it is now high time to recognize the effort of women and to allow them to truly shine by creating spaces and opportunities for them; one such effort is the Jubilee Women's in Leadership Programme.