By T’soloane Mohlomi

MASERU – In one of a first, Vodacom Lesotho on Monday hosted the Women Network Forum, where leading women in different spheres of society converged to uplift, share and inspire society in relatable issues affecting women.

Held at the Plush Mpilo Boutique facility, the forum brought together women with a vast pool of expertise amongst them, as they aimed to impart knowledge on others in order, and with the aim of leaving a lasting impact.

 Areas of expertise in the conference ranged from the corporate sector with representatives from the Banking division, the Insurance sector and the Security sector with one from Defence.

Participants in the forum discussed issues relating to how gender equity and equality in the workplace and society could be realized; they shared inspiring stories and experiences, while imparting skills, information, knowledge and resources

The panellists on the day included MS Delekazi Mokebe, who’s the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of First National Bank Lesotho, Ms Mamello Phomane who is the Managing Director (MD) of Metropolitan Lesotho, Maj. Gen ‘Matumelo Ramoqopo, a female General in the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), Ms Rethabile Hoohlo Vodacom Lesotho’s Executive Head of Legal and Compliance and Ms Palesa Mphunyetsane, head of Vodacom Lesotho Financial Services.

Speaking at the event Vodacom Lesotho’s Managing Director, Mr Mohale Ralebitso said it was indeed a great feat, to have women of such a high calibre converging in one place not only to share and uplift not just other women but the public in general. He said their presence on the day was important because they were pioneers and ground breakers in their own fields and people looked up to them.

Making an emphasis on the boy child Mr Ralebitso said it was important that they strived for an inclusive future, saying that males should also be included in their progressive dialogues to ensure unity and avoid creating a polarised community.

“Speaking for the other gender, we thank you ladies for all the expertise and insights that you shared with us today. I would like to shed a light on gender based violence (GBV) how can it be that Lesotho ranks high incidents of violence against women and children? It is just not right. We have our financial director Ms ‘Mamoorosi but we are not sure whether she would have been succeed by Rethabile Mofolo but we’ll never find out because she was murdered, gender based violence is very real,” he said.

“So please gentlemen let us also play our part and not be the ones who attack women because we somehow feel inadequate, or want to assert ourselves in some way. We should teach our young boys who are still growing up, to be decent humans rather than men who know their privileges but not their responsibilities. We should also raise our girl children to know their place, which is at the top side by side with the boys, not behind, not hidden to be called upon, but side by side as partners and hopefully building a better country and society.

With an array of issues discussed during the panel the ladies spoke mainly about their journeys and challenges encountered in the workplace.

FNB Lesotho CEO Delekazi Mokebe mentioned that her journey to the top wasn’t an easy one at all and said in her early moments in her career she was always obsessed with perfection and doing her best at all times. Reflecting back to when she worked for another bank when she was only starting out she said her supervisor would always ask why she would stay behind when others had already left.

“I told my supervisor that I didn’t like the way they did their work so I was staying behind to correct it, but later I Iearnt that it wasn’t very sustainable and in management you deliver your best work through others,” she said.

She added that she was fortunate to learn that at an earlier age because during the course of her career she learnt that in her success it was important to ensure that others are successful also.

Maj Gem ‘Matumelo Ramoqopo shared the difficulties she endured during her long tenure as a women in the army and going on to be the first female General in the LDF. In the cause of her career as always been overlooked as a woman she said she persevered as she knew who she was and the scope of her capabilities. Her Motto in life is “Let none define you”.