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SA women advancing in corporate world

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Women around the world are increasingly rising in the corporate environment. That’s according to one leadership development expert on International Women’s Day, marked on 8th March.

Though strides have been made in empowering women, many women are still marginalised. International Women’s Day aims celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.

This year’s campaign theme is called gender parity and has been placed on the international agenda, to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias.

Speaking to VOC on Tuesday, Michelle Moss, the director of Talent Africa said females are doing well in taking opportunities that are presented within the corporate world, but are “not there yet.”

“It is important that women climb the corporate ladder because of; their experience, their skill, their knowledge, and their competencies – not just because of their gender or a sense of entitlement.”

According to research conducted by an independent non-profit organisation, South African women are rated as seventh in the world in terms of board seats held by women; 17.1 per cent of women in south Africa occupy board seats.

“According to the world statistics we are doing well, but we could still do better.”

The rating of 17.1 per cent represents the inequality that continues to exist. She does, however, note that South Africa has worked to bridge the gender-gap within the working environment.

She has urged government to “up skill” women so that they may “grow into competent leaders.” Moss said this process is not directed toward shifting the focus from the development of men, but rather emphasising the fact that a stronger focus should be granted to females in leadership positions.

Research by Korn Ferry, the biggest global talent management and executive search firm, indicates that the methods of approach to improve the role of females within the working environment, includes; the role of organisation, the role of managers, and the role of women themselves. This, Moss asserts, “is about share responsibility.”

The attitudes that men should have toward females within the work place should be maintained at management level. She, therefore, encourages that managers “make sure that if stereotypical comments are being passed or if a women is being blocked, the leader takes responsibility and helps to break down those barriers.”

Moss further recommends that managers encourage peer feedback and honesty within meetings.

“If this becomes the culture of how the team works, it starts to become easier to break those barriers.”

Moss concluded by stating that women need to congratulate themselves, since South African are women making terrific strides.

“The question is not what we can do more, but rather what can we do even better.” VOC

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