This International Women’s Day, the theme is #PushForProgress.
Here’s some advice from a few local experts in differing fields, on how you can do just that:
Khulu Mabaso, Director for Corporate Communications at Procter & Gamble (P&G):
“Often we regard other women as competition or see them as threats, but in reality we are all fighting the same battle.
“We should therefore focus more on building an army to be reckoned with, rather than devoting our time to small skirmishes.
“Supporting other women starts with small actions – even simply refraining from negative comments on social media or gossip in the office – and can extend to actions that leave a lasting impression, like mentoring.”
Nana Madikane, PwC Southern Africa Diversity and Inclusion Leader:
“It is positive to note that more and more women are opening up discussions with their employers and proactively pursuing and negotiating for raises, promotions and the career-enhancing experiences so critical to advancement.
“However, we want women to self-advocate more. Nevertheless, inclusiveness must also be ingrained within the capabilities of people managers, so they are more instinctively attuned to identify the best talent for an opportunity.
“The onus is on organisations, not just women, to take responsibility for taking down the barriers to progress.”
Vera Nagtegaal, the Executive Head of Hippo.co.za:
“In South Africa, the gender pay gap is estimated at around 15% to 17%. Being a stay-at-home parent or scaling back on work commitments to spend more time with the children will also impact a person’s income.
“This means that women, or whoever the stay-at-home parent might be, are likely to work and earn less.
“For this reason, they should seriously consider entering into what’s called a ‘cohabitation agreement’ with their partners to cover the eventualities of what might happen should the relationship come to an end.”
Stuart Clarkson, Managing Executive for Fidelity ADT:
“Criminals often see women as vulnerable and easy targets. Remain vigilant and never let your guard down so as to avoid becoming a crime statistic. The key to safety is always to err on the side of caution.”
Clarkson offers the following pointers:
• Of utmost importance is to trust your instincts. Women have great intuition and should listen to their instincts. If someone or something makes you feel uneasy, avoid the individual and leave the area.
• Make contact with your private security service provider and asking them if they offer a mobile panic alarm service, which could be downloaded to your mobile phone.
• Tell someone where you are going and the time you expect to return. Save to your mobile phone or memorise the details of the person to be contacted in the event of an emergency.
• Be aware of people around you when heading to your vehicle, especially at places such as shopping centres, petrol stations, and the likes. Ensure that you take a moment to check the street before pulling into a driveway, be it your own or a friend’s.
• If you are driving, the first thing to do once you are inside your vehicle is to ensure that all the doors are locked. Never drive with a handbag or any other valuable items on a seat or in the view of anyone looking into your vehicle from the outside. Try and make your car a mobile-free zone so you can concentrate on your surrounds and keeping you and your family safe.