Senior Business Reporter
A high-level, gender equal corporate landscape can be achieved by successful female business leaders creating opportunities for other women through networking.
This was said by corporate leader, Dr Grace Muradzikwa, who currently serves as Commissioner of Zimbabwe’s insurance and pensions regulator — the Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC).
She was speaking recently at the launch of the Women in Insurance Zimbabwe (WIZ), which she initiated when she was the chief executive officer of NicozDiamond.
“I encourage you to conduct networking sessions, be it virtual but have an opportunity to expand your networks, encourage each other and uplift each other,” said Dr Muradzikwa.
“They say a dollar circulates eight times in the Jewish community because they buy from each other and support each other. WIZ should ensure that members have good exposure and profile each other so that they can land great positions of authority in the society.”
Dr Muradzikwa is the patron of WIZ.
Tomorrow marks the end of Women’s Month, which is commemorated every March, to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8 annually.
The theme of this year’s Women’s Day was “#ChooseToChallenge” as women continue to fight for equality in the male dominated corporate world as well as in other spheres of life.
Women empowerment, more broadly, is generally seen as accepting women’s viewpoints or making an effort to seek them, raising the status of women through education, awareness, literacy, and training.
Dr Muradzikwa highlighted the need for women that have had an opportunity to make a mark in the business world to create opportunities for the young generation.
“My expectations from WIZ is that it deliberately does programming for women. This includes mentorship and coaching programmes for middle managers that they are groomed to be assertive and strong business women.
“To women who have made it to the top, I encourage you to deliberately lower the ladder and find other women you can uplift,” she said.
“My journey with WIZ started at NicozDiamond when I realised that there were fewer women at the top, in-fact we were only three CEOs and I made a conscious decision to mobilise women to come up with this project.
“Consequently, as women, we saw an opportunity to empower each other, and offer a support system to ensure that many women were in executive positions.
“I also noticed that in other jurisdictions, women were celebrating their achievements and empowering each other to succeed in leadership as they understood the complexities facing them.
“We wanted to start an organisation in the insurance sector run by women and with programmes and projects targeting women.”
Over the years, steady progress has been made with respect to women empowerment globally and in Zimbabwe. But a macro-perspective approach is required for effective and sustainable change in this regard.
“Achieving change requires policy and programme actions that will improve women’s access to secure livelihoods and economic resources, alleviate their extreme responsibilities with regard to housework, remove legal impediments from their participation in public life, and raise social awareness through effective programmes of education and mass communication,” says the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Studies have shown that there are more women than men the world over and there is a need for mobilisation of mindset shift so that they (women) support their colleagues in both business and politics. Women have the numbers and the intelligence and lobbying by organisations such as WIZ will see many women rising to positions of authority in companies and social organisations.