By: Bongeka Mhlongo
Today is Women’s Day – is a very special day in our South African calender. Thankfully, for the entire month of August we celebrate the incredible role women play in shaping our society.
Historically, women have been marginalised in various factions of our society. But with growing activism in re-writing past injustices, we see more and more women taking up leadership positions, and succeeding. Like any complex change, there has been tremendous progress in ensuring that women’s involvement is not just a tick-box exercise, to help justify legislation requirements. And as women occupy more promiment roles as part of key leadership teams, work spaces exhibit better and more diverse perspectives.
In a 2011 survey conducted by Forbes, with 321 executives from large global organisations with an annual revenue of at least $500m,it was found that an overwhelming majority of the survey respondents strongly agreed that diversity was absolutely necessary in fostering innovation in the work place .
Embracing diversity, particulary by elevating the role of women is a key ingredient in fostering innovative organisations.
Why is this important to me?
I can attest that I love the woman I am and who I am becoming each day. I owe a lot of my progress to the incredible female friendships and leadership in my life. Through the example of others, I can see the powerful impact that female leadership – together with great male leadership,brings to the workplace. That is why I am advocating for a language called “woman”. This woman language is about:
- Reminding women that our individual and collective voice is powerful and necessary in moving the world forward; to achieve the best for individuals as well as the organisations we serve;
- Ensuring that our thinking and work as women, is able to influence the global dialogue on surviving critical times, such as the COVID 19 pandemic, and other critical social issues affecting us all;
- Teaching the next generation of women that their value is an intrinsic journey and they will no longer be defined by negative conotations of the past.
As we pursue greatness, it is important for us to take time to learn from each other and give back to our society. With the bigger picture and an inclusive workplace firmly in our focus, we become fluent in the language called Woman.
Happy Women’s Month!