Angela Oduor Lungati, director of community engagement for Ushahidi in Kenya, outlines how women can be inspired by visible role models.
|How can female mentors, and making female business success more visible, drive the increase of numbers of women in senior management?|
There’s something to be said about the role mentorship plays in increasing representation of women in any field. When you’re able to see others, like you, succeed in life, it inspires you to do the same, and goes to show you that what was previously thought to be unattainable, is actually within reach.
Organisations like AkiraChix, in Kenya, have made great strides in creating opportunities for mentorship and learning among women in technology, and I believe that that has had a direct impact on increasing the number of women in the workforce.
|How can flexible working practices and culture enable talent retention, specifically female talent?|
Lack of a work-life balance has proven to be one of the hugest impediments to retention of talent, and specifically for women in the workforce. When faced with a choice between meeting life obligations and work, as difficult as the choice may be, life obligations come first. It’ll also create an invisible barrier to career growth.
Flexible work environments go a long way in helping to create that balance between women’s personal and professional lives, and not forcing them to have to choose between the two. In my own experience, I found that working for a company that had flexible working hours, possibility of working remotely, and progressive policies around parental leave and parenting, to be really helpful as I transitioned into motherhood, and back into the workplace, right after parental leave.
|In what ways can people be empowered to design the working structures and systems that allow them to perform at their best?|
I think this requires collaboration and willingness from two fronts.
Firstly, employees need to be candid and open about the working environments they need to be effective, and willing to participate in designing policies or structures that encourage this.
On the flip side – managers need to be open to receiving this kind of feedback and working in tandem with employees to make sure this happens.
It can’t work as a one-way conversation, it has to be collaborative.
Image credit: All Things Open 2018.