She is beautiful, she is bold, she is feisty, she is ambitious and she is a WOMAN! In a world where biases, stereotypes and prejudice against women are prevalent, it is impressive to identify women from different races with different beliefs making remarkable strides and impact on the world.
Peace Hyde, Anita Erskine, Oprah Winfrey, Sangita Woerner, Lebogang Lesego Mohale, Helene Weesie; these are names you may or may not be familiar with. These and many others are women who have risen high above the ranks, grown out of situations meant to break them to be where they are today; they shattered glass ceilings to #BreaktheBias.
Globally, women are played down in corporations, and the percentage of women reduces with each step up the corporate hierarchy. They face countless blocks in their growth into corporate leadership positions such as gender-biased discrimination as well as unconscious gender bias from both management and fellow employees.
In Ghana today, we have organisations and institutions that are intentional about giving women the opportunities to be who they want to be. There is a fast-growing culture of Inclusion & Diversity in our workplaces, churches, schools, homes, and other places that are key to our personal and professional development.
In 2021, Guinness Ghana recruited over 30 females into their male dominated Supply, Technical and Production department through their Women in STEM initiative. This was in line with the company’s agenda to embed and promote Inclusion & Diversity in its working culture.
In recent times women have gained significant ground in the world of work. They have entered many sectors and excelled in fields that were once exclusively dominated by men. It is less common now to see job descriptions that specify the preferred gender of the idyllic candidate.
The field of politics and leadership locally and internationally also have seen a significant inclusion of women over the years. Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, bless her soul, once said “Women belong in all the places where decisions are being made.”
Although many people think that inequality between men and women in our society is a thing of the past, there are still certain gaps that need to be filled in terms of women in leadership.
World Ranking of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) each year ranks the number of women in national politics. The result as at January 2021 shows all-time highs for women heads of state and heads of government.
Despite the increase in the number of women at the highest levels of political power, widespread gender inequalities persist globally: progression in women holding ministerial portfolios has slowed, with just a small increase to from 21.3 percent in 2020 to 21.9 percent in 2021; the number of countries with no women in government has increased and only 25.5 percent of national parliamentarians are women compared to 24.9 percent the year before.
The number of women holding top leadership roles in business has grown in the past 10 years. Organisations with one or more women on board delivered high average returns on equity, lower net debt to equity and better average growth, this is according to a report by Credit Suisse.
In 2021, there were a record number of women CEOs leading organisations. These are executives at well-known companies like General Motors, Citigroup, Best Buy and Oracle, amongst others that may have crossed your mind.
Whilst these achievements are something to celebrate, there is still much work to be done as women only represent 8.1 percent of the Founder Fortune 500 CEOs. Organisations with most women in executive positions can potentially deliver share performance and profits that are close to 50 percent higher than those companies with fewest.
However, this year, we will continue to applaud the women who take the lead, set the pace, shatter glass ceilings, and go through doors that have been shut towards the gender for decades. This year, we are going to be more intentional about empowering and recruiting women who desire to be in all the spaces that are incremental to their personal and professional growth.
This year, we are going to shake away all obstacles and roadblocks that potentially threaten the inclusion of women in spaces where they want to be. This year, we are going to #BreaktheBias!