Breaking Barriers


Ava DuVernay, the celebrated filmmaker behind works like “Selma” and When They See Us,” continues to make waves in the world of cinema. Her latest project, “Origin,” has not only generated immense buzz but has also marked a historic moment in film history. DuVernay’s presence at the Venice Film Festival shattered a long-standing barrier, making her the first African-American woman to have a film compete in the festival’s 80-year history, as reported by NBC News.

In a press conference held during the festival, DuVernay addressed the challenges that Black filmmakers often face when trying to enter their projects into prestigious film festivals. She shed light on the discouragement they encounter, being told that international audiences don’t care about their stories or films.

“For Black filmmakers, we’re told that people who love films in other parts of the world don’t care about our stories and don’t care about our films. This is something that we are often told: you cannot play international film festivals, no one will come,” DuVernay said candidly. “People will not come to the press conferences, people won’t come to the P&I screenings. They will not be interested in selling tickets. You might not even get into this festival, don’t apply.”

DuVernay went on to emphasize the significance of her groundbreaking achievement, saying, “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, ‘Don’t apply to Venice, you won’t get in. It won’t happen.’ And this year, something happened that hadn’t happened in eight decades before an African American woman in competition. So now that’s a door open that I trust and hope the festival will keep open.”

The Venice Film Festival represents a historic milestone for DuVernay and paves the way for greater representation and recognition of Black voices in cinema on an international stage.

DuVernay’s commitment to her craft and her dedication to authentic storytelling were further emphasized during the press conference. She discussed her decision to keep “Origin” as an independent production after it initially began in the studio system.

“I don’t feel like we would have had the cast that we had if it had remained in the studio system,” DuVernay explained. “The studio system is a place where I worked and made projects that I’m proud of, but there is really an aspect of control over who plays what. And there is an idea about who makes money, attracts attention, and sometimes that sits at odds with who might be the best person for the part. Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor was the best person for this part.”

Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor’s casting in “Origin” exemplifies DuVernay’s commitment to ensuring that the right talent is chosen for the roles, irrespective of industry norms.

The independent film production and distribution company Neon acquired the worldwide rights to “Origin” on September 5, further solidifying the film’s journey to reach a global audience.

In addition to her groundbreaking film achievements, DuVernay has been making strides in diversifying the entertainment industry’s workforce. She recently announced a partnership between her ARRAY Crew database for film crew workers and the Impact professional network, creating the largest hiring network in the entertainment industry. This initiative seeks to foster greater inclusivity behind the scenes, ensuring that the industry reflects the diverse voices and talents it represents on screen.

Ava DuVernay’s journey continues to inspire and pave the way for greater representation and inclusivity in the world of cinema, making her a true trailblazer and visionary in the field. As she continues to break barriers, her impact on the film industry and society as a whole is undeniable.

In the evolving landscape of leadership, women are increasingly taking on influential roles, breaking the glass ceiling, and inspiring others along the way. While progress has been made, there’s still work to be done to ensure that women have equal opportunities to lead. A crucial part of this journey involves honing leadership skills. This article explores the essential leadership skills for women and how they can pave the way to success.

What is Leadership Skills

Leadership skills refer to the abilities and qualities that individuals possess to effectively guide, motivate, and influence others to achieve common goals and objectives. These skills encompass a broad range of attributes, including communication, problem-solving, decision-making, empathy, adaptability, and the capacity to inspire and empower team members.

Leadership skills are not limited to those in formal leadership positions; they can be developed and utilized by anyone interested in making a positive impact on a group, organization, or community. Effective leadership skills for women are essential for driving progress, fostering teamwork, and achieving success in various aspects of life, including business, education, politics, and social causes.

Leadership Skills For Women

Leadership skills for women encompass a set of qualities, abilities, and behaviors that enable women to excel in leadership roles. These skills include effective communication, emotional intelligence, resilience, adaptability, and the ability to inspire and motivate others. Leadership skills for women also involve navigating gender biases and stereotypes while asserting authority and influence in various professional settings. These skills are essential for women to thrive and positively impact as leaders in diverse fields and industries.

  • Communication Skills

Effective communication is at the core of successful leadership. It involves conveying ideas, building relationships, and inspiring action. Women can enhance their communication skills by honing public speaking abilities and assertiveness.

Public speaking, often regarded as a daunting task, is a skill that can be developed. Joining public speaking clubs, seeking mentorship, and practicing regularly can boost confidence and eloquence. Assertiveness is also vital, as it ensures that one’s voice is heard in meetings and discussions.

Women leaders like Oprah Winfrey and Malala Yousafzai have mastered the art of communication, using their words to inspire millions and drive positive change.

  • Empowering Others

Empowering others is another leadership skill for Women that deals with equipping and enabling individuals to take ownership of their actions, decisions, and personal growth. It involves providing them with the tools, knowledge, and opportunities needed to make meaningful contributions and take on increased responsibilities.

Empowering others also entails fostering a supportive and inclusive environment where people feel confident, motivated, and encouraged to reach their full potential. This not only benefits individuals but also enhances team dynamics and overall organizational success.

  • Self-Confidence

Confidence is one of the key leadership for women. Becoming a female leader necessitates having the confidence to surmount obstacles and setbacks. 

Rather than succumbing to circumstances or relying on others to identify and eliminate barriers, self-assured women proactively take the lead, motivating and empowering those around them to do likewise.

Therefore, female leaders should believe in their abilities, knowledge, and expertise. This self-confidence not only helps in decision-making but also inspires others to follow. Practice self-affirmation, and remember that your voice and perspective are valuable.

  • Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, plays a pivotal role in leadership. It encompasses self-awareness, empathy, and the ability to manage emotions. Understanding the emotions and motivations of yourself and others allows for better collaboration, conflict resolution, and team building. 

Women possessing emotional intelligence exhibit a sense of inner tranquility that allows them to lead without succumbing to ego-driven impulses. They adeptly navigate their emotions, ensuring they don’t interfere with their capacity to make sound decisions and maintaining assertiveness rather than reactivity.

Resilient women in leadership positions possess a deep sense of empathy towards those under their guidance, placing others’ needs on par with their own. Their focus extends beyond personal advancement, demonstrating an ability to gracefully disregard unsound advice without causing offense to the advisers.

Cultivate your emotional intelligence by actively practicing empathy and active listening.

  • Decision-Making and Problem-Solving

Leaders are faced with countless decisions and challenges. Effective decision-making and problem-solving are crucial skills for navigating the complex terrain of leadership.

Women may encounter unique challenges in decision-making roles, such as being second-guessed or facing biases. To excel in this area, it’s essential to have a systematic approach to decision-making, considering facts, risks, and long-term consequences.

  • Resilience and Adaptability

Leadership is not without its trials. Resilience—the ability to bounce back from setbacks—and adaptability—the capacity to thrive in changing environments—are vital attributes.

Resilience is cultivated through facing adversity with a positive mindset, seeking solutions, and learning from failures. Adaptability involves staying open to change, embracing innovation, and adjusting to new circumstances.

  • Leading by Example

Leading by example is a fundamental aspect of leadership where leaders inspire and guide their teams through their own actions and behaviors. It means living out the values, ethics, and principles you expect from your team. When leaders walk the talk, they not only gain trust and respect but also motivate others to follow suit.

This approach fosters a culture of integrity, responsibility, and excellence within the team or organization. Leading by example is a powerful leadership tool, as it shows that actions carry weight in leadership, often speaking louder than words.

As more women ascend to leadership positions, the landscape of leadership is diversifying, enriching organizations and societies. Leadership skills are not confined to gender; they are about capabilities, determination, and the drive to make a positive impact. Women who possess these leadership skills for women are paving the way to success, inspiring generations to come and proving that leadership knows no gender boundaries.

The political journey of Aishatu Binani is a remarkable tale of perseverance, determination, and unwavering commitment to creating a better future for her community and country.

Though she faced numerous challenges and obstacles as a woman in a male-dominated political sphere, her passion for social justice and equality never wavered.

From humble beginnings, she rose through the ranks to become a respected leader, earning the trust and admiration of her constituents and peers alike.

We will explore the fascinating political journey of Aishatu Binani, from her early activism to her current role as a trailblazing politician and advocate for change.

Aishatu Binani: A Trailblazer for Women in Nigerian Politics

Aishatu Binani’s political career is trailblazing, marked by her efforts to empower women and bring diversity to Nigerian politics.

She broke barriers and shattered glass ceilings as the first woman to be elected as governor in her state.

Her inspiring journey from humble beginnings to political success has been a beacon of hope for women across Nigeria, who often face significant obstacles in entering politics.

By leveraging her platform and experience as a grassroots activist, Binani navigated the often male-dominated political arena and made a real impact in her community.

Indeed, Binani’s leadership has not only opened doors for other women in Nigerian politics. In addition to that, it also helped to bring about meaningful change in her state.

Early Life and Education

Aishatu Binani was born on the 22nd of June, 1957, in Gombe State, Nigeria. She was born into a humble family, and her parents believed in the power of education.

They ensured that she received a quality education and encouraged her to pursue her dreams.

Aishatu Binani attended the University of Maiduguri, where she obtained a degree in Business Administration in 1980

Career in Banking

After completing her studies, Aishatu Binani began her career in banking. She subsequently worked at the Central Bank of Nigeria and later joined the Nigerian Agricultural and Cooperative Bank.

Her success in the banking industry was evident as she became the first female executive director of the Bank of Industry in Nigeria.

The Political Journey of Aishatu Binani

Aishatu Binani’s political interest began when she joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1990.  She believed that women could contribute significantly to the political arena and sought to create a platform for women to participate actively.

Her passion for politics and gender advocacy led her to establish the Women for Change Initiative (WCI). This non-governmental organization sought to promote the participation of women in politics.

In 1991, Aishatu Binani contested for a seat in the Gombe State House of Assembly but lost. Undeterred, she continued to pursue her political ambitions, and in 1992, she contested for a seat in the National Assembly, which she won.

She became a member of the House of Representatives, representing the Kaltungo/Shongom Federal Constituency in Gombe State.

Governorship Bid and Victory

In 1999, Aishatu Binani made history when she contested for the governorship of Gombe State, becoming the first female candidate to do so in Nigeria. 

However, the idea that a woman could not effectively govern a state in Nigeria was met with skepticism and resistance.

Nevertheless, Aishatu Binani was undaunted, and she campaigned tirelessly, focusing on issues such as education, healthcare, and women’s empowerment.

She became Nigeria’s first female governor after a successful campaign that resonated with the residents of Gombe.

Achievements as Governor

As governor, Aishatu Benini set out to fulfill her campaign promises to improve education, healthcare, and infrastructure.

She established a scholarship scheme for disadvantaged students and initiated the construction of roads and bridges to connect communities in the state.

Aishatu also instituted initiatives to foster women’s autonomy, setting up a microcredit scheme for women entrepreneurs and forming a Women’s Affairs Ministry.

Her administration was marked by transparency and accountability, and she worked to improve the living standards of the people of Adamawa State.


Aishatu Binani’s legacy as the first female governor in Nigeria continues to inspire women. Her political journey is rooted in her years of grassroots activism.

As a young woman, she was passionate about advocating for women’s rights and empowering marginalized communities.

She worked tirelessly to promote gender equality, increase access to education, and improve healthcare services in her community.

Her advocacy work helped bring about real change in many people’s lives.

During her grassroots activism, she laid the foundation for her political career, and she remains committed to serving the people of her community.

Binani’s story is a powerful example of how one person can make a difference through grassroots activism and advocacy.

It inspires others who seek to create positive change in their communities.


Aishatu Benini overcame strenuous obstacles to become Nigeria’s first female governor.

Her determination and hard work paved the way for more women to take leadership positions in Nigerian politics. Her legacy will continue to inspire generations of women to come.