Women in Corporate…. The Truthadmin
Women in Corporate.
By Chrissie Kafalinji
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”– Maya Angelo
There are issues that seem to come up every year the closer we get to Women’s Day such as:
Although Africa has progressed only 5% of CEOs in the private sector in Africa are women, even though it is better than the 4% globally. According to research organisations with a greater share of women on their boards then to have greater operating margins, return on equity and a total return to shareholders.
The fact is that Women are always faced with problems in the business world. This is why they suffer the fate of not being seen as eligible enough to fulfil a position such as CEO. Let us put race, background and connections aside. When you finally make it, it doesn’t get any easier in fact once to succeed you become a target for the opposite gender.
Here are some of the issues that women are forced to deal with in their individual experiences and journeys:
The illusion of Fairness
“We are never taught to fight for ourselves,” said Ellen Kullman, the former chief executive of DuPont. “I think we tend to be brought up thinking that life’s fair, that you thrive and deliver, and the rest will take care of itself. It actually does work for most of your career. It doesn’t work for that last couple of steps.”
It’s harder for assertive, ambitious women to be seen as likeable, and it is easier to conclude they lack some intangible, ill-defined quality of leadership.
The challenge for women is how to enter into the intangible, but the crucial circle of male camaraderie. “Once you get to the top of the company, in most cases, you are dealing with a male kingdom,” she said. “For as long as females are the minority group, it is much more about our capacity to adjust to them than their capacity to open up to us. I don’t think it’s about fairness. It is narrow-minded and ineffective, but human.”
However, they do learn a lot, to summarise a few key lessons learnt below:
Silence is not key. In order to be heard, one must actually speak, ensure that you never appear meek or submissive.
Pay attention: To those around you, don’t allow males to oppress you or take credit for your work even if it’s just once. Deal with it immediately.
Don’t get intimidated or doubt yourself: Entering a field that is particularly dominated my males can be difficult to explain and accept. You may feel undermined or be an outlier in regards to the social circles.
The way forward…On this Women’s Day, one may be wondering how to finally be an equal in society or simply grow without the stress of how your gender may affect your career. There is hope though that you can make it even if it is to be part of the 5% eventually it will all add up.It may be extremely challenging , but at this point moving forward is best.