The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in Zimbabwe (ICSAZ) has launched the Women in Governance and Accounting (Wiga), which seeks to promote and develop women experts and leaders in multiple spheres of business and public sector management.
BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
Wiga was launched during the ICSAZ annual conference held in Nyanga last week, with Insurance and Pensions Commission boss, Grace Muradzikwa saying women can deliver as much as their male counterparts.
“We have great women in history who have transformed themselves, their families and their communities, while battling against great odds in patriarchy societies,” said Muradzikwa.
She said equality for women could not be achieved without women assuming leadership roles.
“Currently, 21 women sit as heads of State or government in 193 countries around the world. In Zimbabwe, women’s participation in politics has increased and, I want to give credit to the quota system introduced by the new Constitution.
“The same Constitution has also guaranteed equal participation of women and men in the administration of public sector entities to the effect that, as we speak, gender diversity on boards of public sector entities is better than in the private sector,” Muradzikwa said.
She said the creation of the Gender Commission was one of the positive developments in gender equity, directly stemming from the Constitution.
“Historically, the boards in Zimbabwe have been dominated by men despite overwhelming evidence showing the positive contributions that women can bring to societal decision-making.
“The private sector in Zimbabwe is still far from embracing gender diversity at the top of the corporate ladder,” Muradzikwa said.
She challenged boards in the corporate sector to embrace gender diversity.
“Our understanding of leadership has to shift from the ‘macho mentality’ to a ‘diversified and multifaceted’ leadership model, more fitted for globalisation, the digital age and the new normal.”
She said the major challenge limiting women from taking up corporate leadership positions was lack of mentoring and coaching to enable them to get the right opportunities.
Muradzikwa said the launch would provide women with the opportunity to mentor and coach other women and prepare them to take up leadership positions. She said the greatest debate around gender diversity was whether to have ‘feminism of equity’ or ‘feminism of difference’, that is, whether women should be included on boards for mere gender representativeness or for the business benefits they will bring to the board.
“I believe in the ideology of feminism of difference. We do not want to be tokens of gender diversity legislation but true agents of change who can bring tangible results from our participation in corporate boards for bringing about sound decision-making,” Muradzikwa said.
Wiga seeks to promote and develop women experts and leaders in governance and accounting through creating platforms for networking, mentoring and coaching for those aspiring to join the governance and accounting profession.
Muradzikwa believes that Wiga will provide a platform for women leadership development and will even attract women from various disciplines in business and entrepreneurship.
Wiga chairperson Avila Goba said as women in governance and accounting they sought to break the glass ceiling by coming together and sharing insights and experiences to position themselves for leadership.
“As Wiga, we expect to interact with professional women in governance and accounting coming from diverse professional disciplines.
“The Wiga will provide a dedicated platform for the institute to meaningfully contribute to matters affecting the development of women especially in governance and accounting.
“The Wiga will provide a forum to help further strengthen the institute’s activities and interventions aimed at contributing towards greater emancipation of women through our profession,” she said.