Channel: Maryam Lemu
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This is my game lemo and I want to talk about women in leadership. Now I have been surrounded by many great role models, influences and leaders. My parents topped the list. However, I want to focus on the influence that my mother has had in my life. She taught me to be brave and courageous, to be tenacious and live in a world of possibilities. She taught me about contribution and being useful to others, she taught me to be a ray of sunshine. Now one thing about my mother is she used all her unique strengths, and multiple gifts that she had been blessed with, to be an example to others. Now, we all have role models, people whose footsteps we walk in people who are leaders in our lives
and whether we like it or not, we are role models. We are leaders without titles. Now, whether we are ready or not, people are looking up to us, our children, our siblings, our neighbors, colleagues, somebody is watching us, they copy the way we walk, the way we talk, how we speak, the copy, the things we accumulate, how we dress, the cars we drive, our good or our bad habits, the advice we give them. In other words, we are influences in other people's lives. Now Allah has described all human beings, men and women, as his coniferous his ambassadors, his stewards. So in the eyes of our maker, all of us are leaders, all of us are his representatives, regardless of
gender. And the Prophet Muhammad may Allah be pleased with him, took it a step further with a metaphor that's familiar to all faiths, and that is of the shepherd, but each one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. Again, no gender separation. Now why I like this metaphor is it teaches us about personal responsibility. The shepherd has to be proactive has to take the lead, it doesn't wait for the sheep to tell it where to go. Now some of us have a small flock or a big herd. So many of us are responsible for a small flock like our families or children, our neighbors, or a bigger flock, the influence we have in our communities, or places of work, or
religious groups we may belong to, while others have a big herd because of the political positions they hold or the offices they occupy. Now, if you ask me, the word leader can sometimes be disempowering. The belief that the few at the top are more powerful than the millions who put them there are that we need titles before we can make a difference. Now being a role model is being a leader, being an influencer is being a leader. An older sibling is a leader parents are leaders, teachers and leaders. It's more progressive and more liberating, more empowering for us to recognize that we can all be leaders without titles, shepherds to our flock. Being born, a woman is already
being a born leader, a born role model. What do we need titles for when we are already influencing generations as mothers of the nation and as the first school for our children, and our influence doesn't start to stop there. women in leadership is not new to history of societies. One of the greatest women praised by Allah, for her leadership was Bill keys the Queen of Sheba, she was one of the early leaders of the opposition to injustice, and she led an army of over 20,000 men, and she was nominated by men, and also by Ayesha rhodiola. We have a wife of the Prophet sallallahu Sallam who is the leader and has been a huge influence in our lives. Until today. We have seen women excel
in all walks of life in education, as social media influences in trade and commerce in medicine, law and other professions in the film and entertainment industry. As heads of financial institutions, they hold key positions in the United Nations. And as the head of the World Trade Organization, we have seen women Excel, US presidents and prime ministers, like New Zealand, and South Korea and other countries. We have seen our angel who has led Germany for the past 18 years with wisdom, humility, dignity, inclusiveness, compassion and grace. She has become the pride of all good people. And she stood tall in a world dominated by them. I say Angel because her name is Angela which means
Angel. Women have led and excelled in the multiple roles they play. We do this balancing act of our career while ensuring we do not undermine the obligations to our family. If someone says women can't lead than they are just pretending to sleep, no matter what you do, you won't be able to wake them up. Now the obstacles that stop women from equal and fair access to opportunities was put in place by both men and women. However, clearing them is not unsurmountable. The general rule for all good shepherds is there should be justice, equity and inclusiveness. And because many are concurrently disadvantaged, we need to support
A girl child education, and help them in the pursuit of furthering their studies. While we also help them in capacity building and skills acquisition, we need to focus on supporting women in all areas and not let our biggest concern be the positions or the titles we hold. Why because we are all shepherds, we are all role models, we are all influences, and we are all leaders without titles. So let us focus on our circle of influence what we can do, we can inspire one another, we can uplift one another, we can enlighten one another, we can motivate one another. Now the difference between an ordinary and an extra ordinary Shepherd is they focused on building themselves, their own
capacity and building the capacity of those around them. They want to be better, so they can do better. We should never stop learning, never stop evolving, never stopped growing, and developing our minds and our talents. Now our Lord has equipped us with all the tools we need to live our best lives and be the most useful. Sadly, many of us look around at others and see what they're doing and feel we are disadvantaged because we went on to a certain family, we don't come from a particular region, or we didn't get a certain kind of education, we come up with all sorts of reasons and excuses why we cannot do why we cannot be we become professional excuse geologists by saying I can't
do this because or the reason why this can't happen is because of this or that. Now all those we look up to and admire, didn't wait for permission or make excuses. So much is wrong today, because there are so many bystanders, those who think they don't have what it takes to do or are waiting for a title to lead. they admire from a distance while they can do they can be if you catch yourself complaining or making excuses, check yourself because you've got what it takes. And don't be so busy doing other people's lives who are ready to contribute make a difference. however small, we rave about celebrities, musicians realities does in spite of their flaws. Yet the few around us that are
trying to do something small, we judge we condemned them, we pull them down. If you are so busy doing, you won't have time to point fingers, we've got enough opposition to end up being our own obstacles and our own problems, there is always something to do, there is always a need to be fulfilled. Now there are two quotes I love. The first is if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. I take it a step further and I say you are a problem yourself. And then you don't need a title to lead. It is simply about having the right intentions and making the right decision to just do it. Now what are we teaching our children and all those looking up to us? What
are we modeling? Now each and every one of us has had someone influences positively in our lives. In other words, someone who has been a role model to us and the leader, however, I want you to ask yourself, what and who are you to others? Are you significant in people's lives? Are you paying forward what someone else has done to you? whose lives are you touching what ever you may be doing right now. improve upon it be more useful, make a more positive impact and be a stronger influence in the lives of people. If you already have skills, then put it to good use. Gathering useful knowledge is not our problem. It's making sure that the input produces the right output. Always
compete with yourself to outdo yourself. I remember someone saying to me that they want to do this and that but they don't have the right skills. These are just excuses. Modern technology has accorded us the luxuries of having information at the tips of our fingers. Turn your phone into your classroom, get into online schools, register for online courses, go on Coursera futurelearn Udemy, whatever it is, and buy relevant book download audiobooks. Go on YouTube, the best school in the world, watch TED Talk videos, join groups, do research on Google. Everything you need is already available and you've got what it takes. Now we all have battles to fight and we're all carrying
various loads on our shoulders. However, whether we like it or not, like I said earlier, we are already role models. We are already leaders, folks are watching us and copying us. We are a gift to the world from our maker and he has blessed us with multiple gifts. Now let us go out there and shine our light brightly for ourselves and for others. We don't need a title to lead. We are women after all.