Women overlooked in boardrooms

Source: Women overlooked in boardrooms | Sunday Mail (Local News)

Gender and Community Editor

WOMEN representation on company board of directors remains low, with 20 of the 60 Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)-listed companies in 2019 not having a single woman on their boards.

A study by Dr Bernard Chidziva, a lawyer, showed that 16 listed companies had one female each as a board member.

Of the 60 ZSE companies, only five had women chairing the board.

Dr Chidziva presented the findings at a meeting hosted by the Institute of Directors Zimbabwe dubbed “Gender Diversity on Boards: Going Beyond Perception”.

The event attracted participation of executives in the private sector, who shared notes on how to address the challenges bedevilling women’s progress in the corporate sector. Despite universities churning out competent female graduates, male-dominated networks continued to stifle women representation in leadership posts, he said.

“You have instances where company business is discussed in the absence of women or by men in their circles and only brought to the board for endorsement.”

Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) Commissioner Grace Muradzikwa said women must demonstrate their ability to take leading roles.

“We need to be able to bring value and we need to be experts in certain specific areas,” she said. “Before we clamour for board memberships and so on, let us ask ourselves: ‘Am I an expert in which area? What value am I bringing on the board’?”

Commissioner Muradzikwa believes that public application process for board appointments would provide a broader platform for women to take decision-making opportunities.

United Refineries chief executive and former Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Busisa Moyo highlighted the need to move beyond complying with quota systems to sustainable measures that look at the value women bring to the table. The participants at the webinar proposed refining the legislation to promote a quota system for women into the decision-making matrix.