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FNB Mozambique Closes Women’s Month With “Inspiring Dialogue”

FNB Mozambique Closes Women’s Month With “Inspiring Dialogue”

On 30 April, FNB organised an event to mark Mozambican Women’s Month, bringing together the bank’s clients and employees for an inspiring dialogue on the theme ‘From Women to Women – Entrepreneurship and Leadership’. The panel of guests, moderated by FNB’s Marketing and Communications Director Cláudia Chirindza, shared stories of success and challenges in the world of women’s professional and business careers, extolling the achievements and tenacity of three successful women.

Custódia Mandlhate, Mozambique’s first female doctor specialising in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, who is now retired, shared her vision of gender equality in education, the legacy of a progressive paternal upbringing. She recalled her childhood in a district where formal education ended at fourth grade and how her father’s decision to send her to Nampula province was crucial to her continuing her studies.

Her father’s influence was decisive not only in her choice of education, but also in her professional choice, when he advised against studying law due to the political context. ‘Before I chose medicine, I actually wanted law. But it was in colonial times and my father advised against it, because at that time there was a political connotation with the faculty,’ he recalled.

Neuza de Matos is an entrepreneur who worked for over 30 years in the Mozambican government, where she was a legal advisor to two Mozambican Presidents and director of the Prime Minister’s office. This phase of her life was marked by intense challenges, balancing a demanding professional career with family life. ‘It’s a career full of challenges: being a mum, a wife, a civil servant, advising major figures in the State, with no hours to work and where you have to dedicate yourself 100 per cent, with children and a house to look after.’

For her part, Jeckcy Bonzo, an entrepreneur and digital influencer, shared the vicissitudes of her journey from completing her law degree to becoming an entrepreneur. Faced with the challenge of finishing a university degree and not finding a job opportunity, without a clear direction, she turned adversity into opportunity, finding her vocation in entrepreneurship.

Still on the subject of women’s challenges and achievements, Custódia Mandlhate also addressed the issue of harassment in the workplace, emphasising the need for a firm stance and the implementation of strict ethical standards to protect women.

‘What needs to happen in the workplace is for there to be ethical standards that must be respected, on how to work and keep the workplace a safe place for everyone,’ she explained, emphasising that preventing harassment involves effective management, reporting cases, but also the urgency of cultural changes that strengthen respect and safety in the professional environment.

Jeckcy reflected on the misconception that entrepreneurship is an easy path devoid of obstacles, an ‘often romanticised idea that doesn’t correspond to the reality’ of the daily challenges faced by female entrepreneurs.

Jeckcy also gave a piece of advice to all women who want to enter the business world: ‘identify your passion and think about how to turn it into a business, do something that keeps you going. That’s enough to keep you going’.

Neuza, for her part, reflected on the transition from her career in the state apparatus to that of an entrepreneur. ‘I left a world of power and went into a world of business focused on women, but it was a transition and not a break. It was necessary to face up to the challenge, because I believe that we all have to find our role in society.’ Her speech emphasised the importance of fostering a culture of empathy and collaboration between women, which are essential for developing a more inclusive and equitable business environment.

Finally, Custódia Mandlhate spoke again to discuss preparing for retirement as a process that begins in the early years of education and extends throughout life.

‘Preparing for retirement actually begins as soon as we start primary school,’ she said, emphasising how ‘prudent financial management and long-term planning are crucial to ensuring dignified and secure ageing’. This perspective not only closes the discussion on the specific challenges faced by women, but also emphasises the need for a strategic vision of professional and personal life.

The FNB event didn’t just celebrate the achievements of Mozambican women; it also provided a platform for frank dialogue on persistent challenges, promoting reflection on how to overcome them collectively and move towards a fairer and more equal society.

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