By Mpho Moletlo Kgosietsile (ACIS), MSc Corporate Governance.
One of our maiden workshops in 2011 was entitled “Women in the Boardroom, the Unwritten rules”. The main objective of the workshop was to gather women leaders who have had the opportunity to contribute and participate in leadership positions in the Boardroom as well as in other places and give them a platform to share their experiences in their journeys towards “breaking the glass ceiling”. One of the issues raised was that women were mostly passed over and not recognized where recognition was due. Indeed, the overall view was that being a woman in Leadership is a “tough walk” as one has to prove themselves worthy with more than double the effort by men.
That being said, we look back at this and wonder if eight years later, there is improvement. We have seen a rising number of women been trusted with more responsibility and more influential positions. However, the question of diversity still comes up. Diversity is described as “the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs”
https://www.ferris.edu/htmls/administration/president/diversityoffice/definitions.htm. The question is how are we doing in this area of delivery? Do we have a balance of these human differences in our Leadership and Boardrooms? If not, what are the measures that we have taken as a society to ensure inclusion? How far have we gone to ensure that we have created a conducive environment for success for all different kinds of people?
Different Codes on Corporate Governance detail the importance of diversity and inclusion in the Boardroom. We all strive to ensure that we meet Corporate Governance Best practice at our level best. This is also one of the areas that is most challenging. My opinion is that we are missing out on the benefit of using different skills for the success of our organizations if one gender is overlooked than the other, one race over the other. We can go on and on……..