Women are the greatest resource any business has.
Therefore being able to create avenues where women can access opportunities is one of the most powerful way of harnessing this resource. Women bring the kind of diverse thinking within the workforce that helps businesses increase their success and financial returns. However even though we know the value and contribution of women, the workplace still remains one of the most inhospitable places for them. Women in the workplace continue to face multiple forms of gender inequalities and discrimination. Furthermore they continue to be under represented and excluded in leadership and decision making positions.
The ICT sector in South Africa although vibrant and growing rapidly is no different. It has unfortunately made very little strides in improving the representation and inclusion of women. Research indicates that women only occupy 23% of all ICT positions in South Africa.
As a company Maredi Technologies wanted to represent something different from the status quo. We wanted to address and tackle the issues of inequalities and discrimination within our industry. We therefore began by building a more inclusive and representative work culture for women. We did this by changing our recruitment policy and skewed it towards a preference for women. The goal was to facilitate cultural and organizational changes that would reduce gender inequality and increase diversity within our organisation.
We challenged ourselves even more and took our commitment of gender equality even further. It was not enough for our business to simply hire more women. Meaningful change does not result purely because women are represented in the organisation. We knew that we needed women to sit at the table and take up leadership roles, in the decision-making and strategic processes of our business. We applied this approach and we hired and groomed more senior-level female workers such as Lelona Magwambe who heads up projects in all 5 regions and has a staff complement of 12 people who directly report under her and our financial manager Lona Scwebu who is responsible for the financial health and trajectory of the business. We also promoted qualified women from within such as Ntombi Mazibuko who started out as the Executive PA to the CEO and today is promoted to sales and marketing manager. These steps were vital in our strategy to create meaningful and sustainable change in our business.
The Leading Women campaign that we launched in 2019 aligned with our existing efforts and commitment to bridging the gender gap in our business and industry. We felt that it was important for create a space where women could embrace their purpose and to take advantage of every opportunity presented to them. Through the Leading Women Campaign we were able to achieve that.
Our belief at Maredi Technologies is that without women our success is limited. The extent to which women grow within our organisation is the extent to which we grow. We owe our success to the women in our business. Frances McDormand stated that “women have ideas and, to put those ideas into action, they need a seat at the table” . At Maredi Technologies we value, incorporate and operationalise the ideas of the women in our business, but most importantly women in our business sit at the table.