A new survey by a leading international auditing and consulting firm has revealed that more women are assuming positions of power than before, despite odds stacked against them.
Grant Thornton’s annual Women in Business International Business Report, released this week, shows that women in leadership positions in African businesses have increased marginally amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis.
It observed that the number of women holding senior leadership positions in mid-market businesses globally has hit 31% despite the global pandemic affecting economies around the world.
According to the report, about 39% of senior management positions in African businesses are held by women, and this average has steadily risen from 23% in 2015 to 39% in 2021 despite the impact of COVID-19 during 2020.
As of 2020, Grant Thornton revealed that percentage of businesses in Botswana with at least one woman in senior management stands at 72%, a step closer to the global percentage of 87%.
Managing Partner of Grant Thornton Botswana, Kalyanaraman Vijay said the continued rise in number of women in senior roles globally and in Africa is an important milestone for businesses, but not the end goal.
“Those businesses that want to reap the benefits of a better gender balance, must continue to take action to enable women to realise their ambitions, through and beyond the pandemic,” he said. Vijay added that seeing the proportion of women leaders rise to 39% in African businesses was encouraging, given that it passed the important 30% threshold, which research showed was the minimum representation needed to change decision-making processes. He said another encouraging finding was the types of leadership roles women were occupying.
Grant Thornton’s research revealed higher numbers of women across operational C-suite roles compared to last year, with the proportion of female CEOs up four percent to 26%, female CFOs up seven percent to 43% and female COOs up three percent to 23%.
Additionally, 52% of African businesses believe that new working practices as a result of COVID-19 have enabled women in business to play greater leadership roles.
Furthermore, 78% of African businesses agreed that in their organisations, new working practices as a result of COVID-19 will benefit women’s career trajectories long-term, despite potentially hindering factors which may be down to the flexibility that remote working offered.
Some of women who hold senior positions in corporate Botswana include Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) CEO, Catherine Lesetedi; managing director for Liberty Life Botswana, Lulu Rasebotsa and BIHL board chairperson, Batsho Dambe-Groth.
They are joined by president of Women in Business Association (WIBA), Nametso Ntsosa-Carr; National Development Bank CEO, Lorato Morapedi and BIFM CEO, Neo Bogatsu amongst others.