Jeanette Marais, CEO at Momentum Investments and Deputy CEO of Momentum Metropolitan Holdings
Women leaders are not the anomaly they once were. Much-needed change has started to creep into workplaces and governments.
While I am heartened by these signs of progress and proud to be part of an organisation that is leading the change we need, it is still very much the exception rather than the rule.
Women remain under-represented in other positions of authority, only making up 32 percent of Supreme Court of Appeal judges, 31 percent of advocates, 30 percent of ambassadors and 24 percent of executive heads of state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
The corporate world fares little better: nearly a third of organisations in the country have no women in senior management positions and less than five percent of companies have women CEOs. On the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 96 percent of companies listed have male CEOs, 87 percent have male Chief Financial Officers and 91 percent have male executive directors – even though research shows that businesses that use female talent effectively are 45 percent more likely to report improved market share.
Drive the change you want to see
Women’s value in the workplace cannot and should not be underestimated – but there is still a long way to go before that value can be truly realised. The only way to see this change is to drive it, and not only give women a seat at the table but also create a space where our voices can be heard and appreciated.
A quote from diversity and inclusion consultant Verna Myers captures perfectly how I feel modern companies can do this. She said, “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance, and belonging is dancing like no one’s watching”.
This means overcoming unconscious bias and embracing the richness of diversity by creating an enabling environment where women’s voices are heard and respected. It means empowering people by giving them the freedom to bring their authentic selves and voices to the workplace.
Because with us, investing is personal.
Whatever your client’s investment journey, we can help them achieve their goals. Because with us, investing is personal.
We pride ourselves on the vast range and diversity of our investment capabilities. Whatever investment journey your clients are on, we have the investment capabilities they need to achieve their goals.
We work with you to choose suitable options that can help transform each client’s hopes and dreams into reality. Join the unstoppable force of momentum. Because with us, investing is personal.
Momentum Investments is part of Momentum Metropolitan Life Limited, an authorised financial services and registered credit provider (FSP 6406) and registered credit (NCRCP173) provider.
Authenticity is an approach I have followed my entire career, and which helped get me where I am and become the leader that I am today. And I believe that there are valuable lessons that I have learnt over the years that have the potential to help other women who are still working to get their spot at the boardroom table and ensure that their voices can be heard:
- Be willing to take risks: I took risks and challenged myself, even when I was scared. I put my hand up to take on challenges and opportunities, and that gave me an edge. I also continuously look for ways in which I can better myself by learning new skills. You need to ensure you are on the radar when opportunities arise.
- Have confidence in yourself: the only way to reach your goals is to fully believe in yourself and your capabilities. This confidence will help you to put your hand up, take on challenges and push yourself further and harder to ensure you succeed.
- Set high standards: only by setting your sights high can you hope to reach your dreams and even exceed your own expectations. This means constantly challenging yourself, getting yourself out of the comfort zone and working harder.
Although there is undoubtedly still some way to go before we see greater equality in boardrooms, the good news is that women are increasingly finding their place and voice at the table – and it is critical that we keep this momentum going.