Women of Africa!
The global financial crisis continues to have a huge impact on the business environment, while political and environmental problems add on to negative business pressure. Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) plays a key role in the development of African businesses. Unfortunately, many leaders do not realize that they are failing to be inclusive while others know that equality of opportunity for all regardless of age, ethnicity, religious belief, sexual orientation and disability creates business benefits. According to a study by Berenice Kerr-Phillips and Adèle Thomas, organisational culture and employment equity led to talent loss amongst identified top talent (micro issues) in South Africa during the period 1994 – 2006.
Women make up over 50% of Africa’s growing population but are under-represented in social, economic and political spheres. Africa’s private sector is increasingly attracting investment making Africa the most sought after destination for global investment. The women of Africa play an important role in the growth of Africa and so it is vital that these inequalities are addressed. Africa must harness the power of women to drive economic growth and social development.
Across the globe it is very apparent that without the skills, talents and capabilities of their people, businesses simply cannot succeed. And to do so there has to be a substantial investment in diversity and inclusion, for example:
- Developing programmes to increase women’s success at work because it has positive impact on both business and society.
- Balancing representation of previously disadvantaged ethnic groups
- Integrating Diversity and Inclusion into Human Resource systems to ensure that they recruit and retain the right talent.
- Holding senior management accountable for Diversity and Inclusion
- Delivering on Corporate Social Responsibility through sustainable community partnerships.
It is worth pointing that diversity by itself without inclusion erodes employee engagement. Talent is on the top of many CEOs shopping list, with many fearing that a limited supply of candidates will adversely affect business success. The reality is that the talent already exists and just need to be identified.
Women of Africa are the untapped economic force and their participation in decision-making has a proven positive impact. Leaders must address inequalities and harness the power of women to drive economic growth and social development.