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The dream of gender equality



As we close out this year’s Women Month I would like to borrow some words from Sheryl Sandberg who says: We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape conversations, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored.

Sheryl was once listed on the annual list of the most influential people in the world and is a successful business executive and billionaire with profitable records in every company she’s ever been on its decision-making table.

But what happens when women make it and stay at the top? The Fortune 500 American list shows that 15% of corporate world CEO positions are held by women.

Companies that claim a higher representation of women on their boards are said to outdo the ones that don’t by a notable degree.

This is because when women become leaders they provide a different set of skills and resourceful perceptions. Female leaders bring structural and cultural differences to the table. Both have profound and complex (in a positive way) effects on society or organisations.

That is because it is in a woman’s nature to create a safe, serviceable environment for others around her.

In the past years women have worked hard to improve schooling, create movements for equality and so on. And this month we were celebrating some of the South African women whose energies have gone towards fighting for the female gender rights in the republic.

The short of this is: if women wield more power, they can create different sorts of fortunes that will benefit their institutions and countries.

Gender equality is important in all different spheres of life. When women are included on big tables or empowered as leaders, oftentimes the community and economy benefits. One of the reasons why this is so is due to a woman’s greater communal orientation that comes way back from creation and the manner in which human creation has been doing things.

What would normally happen back in the days is that men would migrate to the neighbouring state in pursuit of greener pastures due to economic hardships. This still happens in the present-day.

Women would then be left behind to look after their families and fend for them because it would take the designated “leader” of the family a very long time before they would come back home with some bread.

These women then resolved to set up an informal economy, they involved themselves in agricultural industries, animal rearing and garment industries that contributed a big deal to the economy of the country. The latter is highly dominated by women and it is a well-known fact that it is the backbone of the economy of our country.

The very same women who are the hope of this machine that’s at the bottom of the economy are the same women who have for years raised prosperous, reverential and well-functioning families in the absence of men.

I would like to imagine what more women would do if they would be given a chance to work on changing the direction that’s been taken all these years, that’s obviously leading to nowhere because our country instead of developing keeps on worsening.

What more could they do if they would be given a chance to rewrite fund request proposals and reshape conversations in the boardrooms, in those embassy suites, at United Nations conferences to secure a good deal for the betterment of the country? Women have the loudest voices.

These people know how to make the right noise when obligatory and are brave enough to get what they see apt for everyone.

In the past years, women have pushed ahead and overcame barriers to female leadership such as gender bias, stereotyping, sexism, family responsibilities etc. These barriers however have been persistent in some parts of the world and have delayed and obstructed other women’s success.

Developing countries are on the other side electing women to high political offices because of their innovative and effective leadership skills and the unique, fresh perspectives they offer whenever there is a crisis.

Countries like New Zealand, Namibia, Bangladesh and others are currently enjoying the fruits of having a female prime minister and the United States is making progress in the area of gender equality.

Some women, however, are still holding back and this is a pervasive problem. In countries that are still patriarchal, one of the reasons why this is so is the belief that leadership roles require dramatically long hours and women’s devotion to family makes it impossible for them to put in those hours.

Women who prosper are those who can figure out how to balance their workload and their family affairs without getting caught in a double blind.

With the growing number of women in leadership positions around the globe, there is hope that in the coming few years more women will be advancing to greater altitudes.

In closing, mentorship is vital to placing more women in leadership positions as it is a critical factor of success. And if it is true that many male leaders state that they wish women to advance, then

I guess it would be great for them, since they hold senior ranks in most parts of the world, to keenly spend part of their time and energy towards directing, coaching and promoting women along their career paths and into the ranks of leadership. Together we can work on making this gender equality dream come true.

Bokang Masasa

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