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Panel Discussion Report 37: The need of women leadership in civil society

1. Overview of the panel discussion

The topic of our panel discussion was “The need of women leadership in civil society.” There is a lot of civil society organization working for women empowerment however; they have failed to solve the core issues and problems of women. We hypothesized that one of the principle causes of failure, for not being able to address the challenges faced by women is due to limited number of women leadership in civil society. Therefore, the main objective of our discussion was to identify the problems and issues related to women, the present situation of women leadership in NGO, barriers that obstruct women to take leadership in NGO and suggestion to increase women leadership in NGO. Besides these, we also looked into the various dogmas and stereotypes present in the society about women and their participation and how women have been able to overcome their traditional role in the society.

Whether it is private, public or the third sector, they are deficient of women leaders working at the forefront in guiding their sectors. According to one research conducted by Third research center based in UK, women occupied only 32.3% of the total higher managerial and professional positions. This is indeed quite an interesting topic because it explores the reason as to why there is a huge gap between men and women leadership in the third sector although there is a significant number of participation from women in this sector and is also considered to be female friendly.

2. The process

2.1 Planning

I am satisfied with the topic chosen because being a career oriented woman I could learn about  the current trends, situation and circumstances in which woman have to work and to deal with. Group formation is one of the most tedious tasks. I am more comfortable in working with those whom I know very well. There were 5 panelists in our groups including the moderator. We had a good co-operation so it took us roughly 10 minutes to decide our topic with help from Mr. John and immediately we set into outlining the proposal for the panel discussion. We appointed Kavita as a moderator since she volunteered to become one and she also has the experience of working in an NGO.

2.2 Points & arguments/ disagreement/ Resolution

I was mainly talking about the core issues and problems faced by women not only in society but also in workplace whereas my colleagues covered the rest of the topics. I was more into facts and figures so a lot of my talk was based on researches that I managed to source from internet. Some of the points will be highlighted in this section.

According to an article, “Every 90 seconds, one woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth. Most of these deaths are preventable, but due to gender-based discrimination many women are not given the proper education or care they need. To add further, Women account for 70 percent of the population living in absolute poverty (on less than $1.00 a day).” This presents a challenge to those who believe in women participation and want to ensure that women can freely access their rights and contribute to the economic development of the country.

Why is it important to ensure that women are at the front-line of civil society? I believe that when it is ensured that women are represented in the civil society and are on the front-line of making decisions, it helps women to voice out their opinion and participate in the decision making process.

Although women make up to 50% of the population, as stated in a report published by Ernst and Young, out of the total women in the global workforce, 860 million women worldwide lack the sufficient secondary education and/or lack support from families and communities) to take part in the world economy. My main point of argument was that investing and educating these previously ignored resources can help countries gain competitive advantage in the world. Representation of women can ensure that not only countries prosper but also can help in addressing the major problems faced by women.

3. The Implementation

3.1 Describe the satisfaction/ strength

I am very much satisfied with the panel discussion because this discussion led me to a very meaningful insight into professional workforce. Furthermore, my colleagues presented excellent points regarding the topic. There were many things that I could learn. Although, the points of discussion were mainly from secondary sources but we all knew what we were talking about. We had an excellent co-operation and support from our members. Everyone would show up whenever we scheduled for a rehearsal. We even had a rehearsal for 2- 3 times.

3.2 Dissatisfaction/ weakness

The main weakness I have is relying too much on notes while speaking. I always come up with a script whenever I have a panel discussion. I do not think it is appropriate anymore to read a script and I wish to break this dependency on script/notes. Therefore my next step towards improvement would be to rely not too much on notes during another discussion. Moreover, I felt that the points shared weren’t relevant and further organizing and research would have enabled me to make my points clearer. Nonetheless, I feel I could have done much better and hope to accomplish even more during the next panel discussion.

4. Learning/Reflection of the Panel Discussion

4.1 On information speech & handling questions

I do not have a problem with articulation however; I do have a problem expressing my ideas. It is mainly because I get nervous during the first few minutes and impatient to finish what I have to say. All that time, I did not take into account whether I am making myself understood. There are definitely many things to learn and one of those things is to present ideas in such a manner that can enhance the understanding of the audience.

Q and A session are always challenging but we received only one question from the audiences. It was regarding the cultures that do not allow women to work, participate or contribute to the society. I was a bit taken back by the question because talking about culture is a very sensitive issue. However, I believe that it is women who decide what they want to do and it is up to them whether they would like to participate or not. The only issue arises when stereotypes, dogmas and culture prevent them from doing so even if they wish to.

5. Conclusion

To conclude, I think the panel discussion was successful but could have been better. I really had a good time researching and reading a lot of articles while preparing for the panel discussion. I gained new insights and they will be helpful to me towards my own journey to leadership.

6. References

Ernst and Young.(2013). Worldwide index of women as public sectors leaders: Opening doors for working in government. Retrieved June 18, 2013 from (2013). 11 facts about women around the world. Retrieved June 18, 2013 from   

Third sector research center. (n.d.). Women’s leadership, employment and participation in the        third sector and social enterprises. Retrieved June 18, 2013 from

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