It has been proven that teams that are diversified in gender perform better than teams where perhaps there are just men. This brings me to a conclusion that women have a significant role to play in business and indeed in the whole nation.
I know that sometimes people have complained that the need to develop the girl in the society has been emphasised ahead of the need to develop the boy in our society. Given that Zimbabwe is largely a paternalistic society there has perhaps been no need to go on and on about the boy as it is assumed that the boy is already taken care of. Being a mother of two boys myself, I have never thought that my boys are less privileged compared to their girl counterparts. In fact I raise my boys to be go getters and to know that it is through hard work that one may hope to survive in this life. It would seem society has been softer with girls but now the rhetoric is that girls should stand up and be counted and lead in their various areas of interest.
From a young age girls need to be taught to be confident in their spaces.
They need to be encouraged to take the subjects that girls previously shyed away from. More and more women are venturing into sciences and they are doing very well in those fields. Recently two young Zimbabwean young ladies graduated with Philosophy Doctorates from the University of Stellenbosch. This in its own right shows that Zimbabwe has potential and if we encourage our girls we can achieve much. From a young age the girls need to be taught the power of teamwork. They should collaborate with other girls and take advantage of each other`s core competencies and produce great results.
The girls must also be taught the power of influence. Every little girl must be accountable for her space and must want to leave her space better in all instances. So if it is about their home, every little girl must contribute to make the home a respectable home. If it is about the society, the society must be richer because that little girl was born in that particular society. As Zimbabweans we are all proud of the swimming sensation of our land Kirsty Coventry. Wherever she has gone to represent the country she has left an indelible mark. This has caused our flag to soar very high even at times when we were down and experiencing the worst economic times. Such is the influence that every girl should desire to have.
I am optimistic that in the coming few years we will begin to see more women rise up to take influential roles in companies and boards in Zimbabwe. We have the potential as women and more are being groomed to see this potential. If we can turn a brick structure into a home, and can organise and manage families and children surely anything else should be within our capabilities. Women are very strong people in nature. I often marvel at those who are married who go to work and come back home to manage a husband, children and the staff with the very same flair that she would have had in the morning. I also marvel at the single parent women who are strong and progressive and run homes single handed and work with amazing commitment. I marvel at young women who have no family responsibilities but give their all in pursuit of greatness.
I had the privilege of attending a meeting at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange with the Chairperson of the board, Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita. I came out of that meeting remembering my late father`s words to us his daughters, “there is room at the top for women.”. As we celebrate women achievers in this edition, we say to them congratulations. You are our beacon of hope. Please groom one girl to keep the dream alive.
Article by Stha Magida, a qualified marketer by profession with experience spanning over fifteen years.