FINQUES­TION OF THE WEEK

Why are so few women ap­pointed to top po­si­tions?

Finweek English Edition - - Openers -

YC: For me, it’s a real pity that when it comes to gen­der, com­pa­nies are still to grasp the de­bil­i­tat­ing ef­fects of pa­tri­archy. There’s an aware­ness of the ef­fect of racial dis­crim­i­na­tion and the con­tri­bu­tion that black em­pow­er­ment has made to the econ­omy. We need the same aware­ness of the ef­fect of gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion. GM: Women, and black women in par­tic­u­lar, are pretty scarce the higher up the or­gan­i­sa­tional lad­der you go. It’s there­fore even harder for young black women to YOLANDA CUBA newly ap­pointed CEO of Mve­laphanda Group

Why do you think it’s dif­fi­cult for cor­po­rate SA to ap­point young black women ex­ec­u­tives?

be recog­nised. More­over, many cor­po­rates find it dif­fi­cult to re­tain tal­ented women. There needs to be a sig­nif­i­cant change in mind­set, in par­tic­u­lar the as­sump­tions made about women, for progress to be made.

Is the pol­icy of af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion favourable to young black women?

YC: Al­though af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion has cre­ated op­por­tu­ni­ties, th­ese aren’t as far-reach­ing as a coun­try such as ours needs. There are far fewer women in board po­si­tions and not nearly enough in se­nior ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions. There needs to be a cul­ture change and an ac­cep­tance of the views, ideals and val­ues that women hold dear. GM: Af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion en­ables doors to be opened, but the women walk­ing through those doors do so on merit and with con­fi­dence that they can meet the chal­lenges ahead.

Do you re­ally think age counts in SA when be­ing ap­pointed as an ex­ec­u­tive?

YC: Vi­sion­ary lead­ers recog­nise the need to leapfrog them­selves and nur­ture, men­tor and grow young tal­ent. I don’t agree with the ar­gu­ment that the num­ber of years you have lived is a pre­dic­tion of your tal­ent and abil­ity to per­form at ex­ec­u­tive level. GM: Age is def­i­nitely a fac­tor, but ex­ec­u­tives are get­ting younger all the time, and any cor­po­ra­tion that val­ues tal­ent will en­sure that it pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth at all lev­els of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

What ex­pe­ri­ences from your past were crit­i­cal in your nour­ish­ment as an ex­ec­u­tive?

YC: The key is op­por­tu­nity. For me, Mve­laphanda pro­vided me with a plat­form and gave me the tools to im­ple­ment what I al­ready wanted. I was in­volved in all the ma­jor trans­ac­tions of the group. This made me street-smart within the con­text of the space in which we op­er­ate.

In ad­di­tion to Mve­laphanda pro­vid­ing me with the tech­ni­cal plat­form, I also had a chair­man and a deputy chair­man who con­stantly men­tored me. GM: Hav­ing the ac­tive sup­port of a great team, hard work, and self-con­fi­dence are all im­por­tant, as is the op­por­tu­nity to gain hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence. Most im­por­tantly, some­one more se­nior who recog­nised po­ten­tial and was will­ing to take a chance on me, pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for me to learn, grow and de­velop my own ca­pac­ity and skill.

GILL MAR­CUS

newly ap­pointed chair­man of

Absa

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.