SOFIELD’S AP­POINT­MENT CON­TESTED

At FHL an­nual gen­eral meet­ing

Fiji Sun - - Sunbiz - KATHRIN KR­ISHNA SUVA EDITED BY: RACHNA LAL

The no­tice­able lack of women in top ex­ec­u­tive level once again be­came a key mes­sage by the Women in Busi­ness Pres­i­dent, Nur Bano Ali. Ms Ali high­lighted this while speak­ing dur­ing the WIB an­nual gen­eral meet­ing yes­ter­day at the Grand Pa­cific Ho­tel in Suva. She ac­knowl­edged the num­ber of fe­males in the mid­dle ex­ec­u­tive level was in­creas­ing, how­ever, there are con­cerns in the top ex­ec­u­tive level. Ms Ali em­pha­sised the need to grow womenowned busi­nesses to help them be­come larger or­gan­i­sa­tions. She stressed the WIB con­tin­ues to pro­vide var­i­ous plat­forms for women in busi­ness and com­merce to come to­gether for skills en­hance­ment and ex­change. “This is done through events such as the speed net­work­ing and reg­u­lar lun­cheons and break­fast ses­sions,” she said.

“Women work at all lev­els of so­ci­ety re­gard­less of their oc­cu­pa­tion so they are a very im­por­tant re­source to have and work with.

“They are wide vi­sioned and are able to take on a wider re­spon­si­bil­ity there­fore as lead­ers.

“Fiji still needs a lot of work to fully em­brace and in­deed com­pre­hend the need to in­clude women at the high­est lev­els of de­ci­sion mak­ing. “We are not just ask­ing for women to be in­cluded, but rather what we are say­ing is to not ex­clude women from de­ci­sion mak­ing is a loss to Fiji.”

Ms Ali said Fiji is still quite be­hind with the up­take on in­clud­ing women in top teams. “We believe that by now this should be a very ob­vi­ous thing to do. We still hear from var­i­ous sec­tors ex­cuses that it is hard to find rel­e­vantly qual­i­fied women to fill cer­tain po­si­tions,” she said. “How­ever, in tak­ing heed of that, we con­tinue to pro­vide the up­skilling so as to boost the con­fi­dence in women to take up po­si­tions when of­fered.” In today’s world, Ms Ali added hav­ing women on all pol­icy and de­ci­sion mak­ing bod­ies is not an op­tion but it is in­deed a re­quire­ment. “Th­ese are not the dark ages and we all must recog­nise this and en­sure this and all of us to­gether must act to en­lighten any­one and ev­ery­one to recog­nise this,” she said. Ms Ali added at the ex­ec­u­tive board, they are fo­cused on work­ing on their two main ob­jec­tives. This in­cludes pro­mot­ing women to the high­est lev­els of busi­ness and ex­ec­u­tive and up­skilling the emerg­ing women in busi­ness. “This is for those who can­not ac­cess re­sources and skills and thereby cre­ate a smarter pool of tal­ented women in the com­merce of Fiji,” she said.

Dis­cus­sions

Ms Ali said it will be worth their while to take stock of the num­bers of women in lead­er­ship and top po­si­tions in com­merce and on cor­po­rate boards. She said they will mon­i­tor the rate at which this is chang­ing. “What we also need to do is cel­e­brate women a lot more. For in­stance if Hil­lary Clin­ton wins, and she will, we will cel­e­brate the first fe­male Pres­i­dent of the US,” she added. “Our ex­ec­u­tives con­tinue to lobby at var­i­ous lev­els for women’s in­clu­sion, promi­nence and par­tic­i­pa­tion in statu­tory and cor­po­rate boards as di­rec­tors.”

They also have a full cal­en­dar of events for the re­main­ing months of the year.

We are not just ask­ing for women to be in­cluded, but rather what we are say­ing is to not ex­clude women from de­ci­sion mak­ing is a loss to Fiji

Nur Bano Ali

Women in Busi­ness Pres­i­dent

Photo: VILIMONI VAGANALAU

Mem­bers of Women in Busi­ness at the An­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing at Grand Pa­cific Ho­tel in Suva yes­ter­day.

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