Ahead of this year’s International Day of the Girl Child, Stanbic Bank has Thursday granted an opportunity to young girls to step into its Executive positions for the entire day as a way of empowering the girl child. In partnership with Plan International, the bank handed over it’s top decision making body including the Chief Executive Officer to female children from Somero Uganda.
Ten year old Stecia Nampijja whose aspirations swing between being a bank manager or doctor chaired Stanbic Bank’s executive committee at the main branch at Crested Towers.
Her peers constituted other positions including; Head of Legal, Head of Corporate and Investment Banking, Human Resources and I.T among others.
Speaking before handing over his responsibilities to the young Nampijja, the Stanbic CEO Patrick Mweheire stressed the importance of offering mentorship and inspiration to the youth especially the girls who face multiple challenges in their growth.
Mweheire noted that despite the gains that Uganda has made in the past two decades, the country still has a long way to go towards achieving equity in the workplace and outside.
In her remarks as the head of Uganda’s biggest commercial bank for the day, Nampijja said; “I urge Stanbic Bank to address issues of sexual discrimination and to avail more information to the public on female economic exclusion to enable girls learn and take key decisions.”
“I encourage other financial institutions to do the same. Stanbic should also introduce a Girls’ Day on its calendar as a reminder of the plight of girls,” the young girl added.
While speaking to the press, Mweheire noted that the bank does not only look at such a gesture as a corporate social responsibility activity but that young girls need to be empowered.
“Promoting this equality has to resonate with all the Senior leaders across the board,” he said.
Currently, women constitute 51% of Stanbic bank’s workforce, with over 931 women employed while 44% of these are in managerial positions.
Asked what the bank is doing to ease the accessibility of financial services to women who are often marginalized, Mweheire revealed plans by Stanbic to develop an incubator for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to enable them be bankable.
“Most of the small businesses don’t make their third year. We are developing an incubator to build the capacity of such businesses by improving their governance and record keeping. This will uplift their standards to meet the bank’s risk standards,” he said.
According to Rashid Javed the Country Director for Plan International, girls are marginalized the most, which is why, if given positions of power, girls make the best champions of rights.
“Empowering girls and women requires engaging the boys and men too since it is the men who perpetrate violence and exclusion on women,” Javed told journalists.
At Stanbic, the young girls visited different departments to speak to the workers as well as different other branches across Kampala.
During the course of the week, Plan International will take its ‘Girls Take Over’ campaign to different private companies, organizations and government agencies to have girls fill the shoes of executives and managers. One of them will be that of the Inspector General of Police.