Organizations challenged to place more women in management roles
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) hosted the March 2021 edition of the BSE Opening Bell Ceremony, under the theme, ‘Women in Leadership; Achieving an Equal Future in a Covid-19 World’. This prestigious event this year focused on recognising the socio- economic, cultural and political attainments and contributions of women in the past and present as it coincided with the celebrations of the International Women’s Day – March 8.
In attendance were Chancellor of the University of Botswana and former Governor of Bank of Botswana Linah Mohohlo, Botswana Stock Exchange CEO, Thapelo Tsheole, Lucara Diamond Corp Managing Director, Naseem Lahri, Corporate Director-Corporate Investment and Banking for ABSA, Lesley Bradley, as well as CFA Society Board Member and Head of Investments, Raazia Ganie who joined the event virtually.
Mohohlo urged organisations to put more effort towards accelerating the pace towards achieving gender equality.
“We are called upon to be relentless in achieving this important aspect of human rights and to recommit to the Convention on the Elimination on all forms of Discrimination against women as well as to implement the Beijing Platform for Action,” she said.
According to Mohohlo, the 30 percent minimum representation in Parliament that was mandated by the African Union has not been achieved yet, citing 20% in Sub-Saharan Africa and a mere 10% in North Africa.
“There are only six positions occupied by women out of a little over 60 seats and there is no doubt that this state of affairs needs urgent attention,” she added. She went on to highlight that there is a strong relationship between gender equality and the development of a country.
Mohohlo said a change in laws was not enough, as everything spans from societal habits and beliefs. “Therefore, we should challenge these men who still live in the past to change their cultural attitude towards women. And equally important, women to change their attitude towards themselves and desist from the apologetic- disposition and diminished self-esteem,” she said.
The panel discussion was moderated by BSE Head of Market Development, Thapelo Moribame, and was deliberated by Bradley, Ganie and Lahri, who are all leading women in their organisations and in the corporate space in and beyond Botswana.
Lahri charged: “Where there is diversity, there is bound to be inclusion and this leads to creativity and innovation”. She highlighted how a number of women are always invited to the dance floors but never asked to dance, explaining how women should not just be a part of companies, but should also be allowed to actively participate in decision making.
In supporting her, Bradley added the need for equality to be intentional in work spaces. “Mosadi ke thari ya sechaba and where gender equality is intentional, the agenda reaches a wider audience and there is growth,” she mentioned.
Ganie raised concerns about the relevance of equal decision making, explaining how genders behave differently and its imperative for an organisation to have diverse views for a better outcome.
Lahri came forth to speak on the role Lucara Diamond Corp has played paving the way for the growing numbers of women in the mining sector and how a great deal of them can be seen applying for posts they never imagined they could be eligible for by virtue of being women.
She encouraged women to go after what they want unapologetically and with integrity. Affirming the notion by Lahri, Bradley was quick to add that men also need to be part of the equality conversation, and called for their active participation in campaigns such as the HE-FOR-SHE campaign. “Men need to advocate for women and gender equality should be treated as a core in every organization,” she said.