Gender parity is a widely discussed topic nowadays and companies, businesses and telcos are all striving to ensure gender parity and an overall 50-50 ratio between men and women in their workplace, including those occupying senior positions. One of these companies is Safaricom.
Last year, during the launch of their 2018 Sustainability Report, the telco said that even though they remain satisfied with the overall gender parity of staff at 50-50 per cent ratio between men and women, the number of women in more senior positions remains low. They are not satisfied with only 32 per cent of the senior management and 25 per cent of the executive leadership being female. The target is to achieve gender parity — a 50-50 per cent ratio between men and women — in senior management by 2020.
In terms of supporting and fast-tracking the careers of the women that join Safaricom, they have started a series of interrelated initiatives, including the annual Women in Leadership (WIL) programme, through which a group of female members of staff acquire leadership and c areer management skills at Strathmore Business School. More than 57 women have attended the WIL programme to date. The WIL programme is supported by several internal mentoring and support programmes, such as PAA DADA, through which women managers support and coach each other. They are currently planning to expand the PAA DADA initiative and relaunch the She for She programme to ensure that all women receive support and mentoring throughout the organization.
They are also introducing ‘top talent mentoring and coaching’ for women in middle and senior management by members of the Executive Committee in the near future.”
Two women CEOs who have benefitted greatly from this program are Wambui Njoora, CEO of Extra Dimensions Company Limited and Debrah Faustine, Cheif Implementer at Debrah Faustine Agency Limited (DFA Agency) who were part of the Safaricom Women in Business programs.
Wambui Njoora, CEO of Extra Dimensions
Wambui joined the Safaricom WIT programme in April 2018 because she saw a great opportunity for more growth in the Technology field and Safaricom had just offered this opportunity to all Women in Kenya to take advantage of the Technology business which formed the largest spend on their total budget.
She says it benefited her business very much because it gave her and her company the access to the Safaricom ecosystem in Technology to learn how to apply and comply with international standards as they continue to connect Fiber to the Home (FTTH) and providing solutions in Renewable Energy and Power.
Personally, the program has enabled Wambui to grow more as a leader and entrepreneur and she says she is enjoying the ever changing dynamics of Technology business as it keeps her on her toes and being able to cope with client demands has been her greatest satisfaction.
How did her business change after the program?She says the transformation was instant. Her Mentor Rebecca Wanjiku and the WIT and WIB team at Safaricom together with the other Mentees have been nothing but exceptional to her in offering truthful feedback, trainings and other sessions geared at business growth.
Debrah Faustine, Founder of DFA Agency
Debrah joined the Safaricom WIB program late 2017. She was looking to get some business from Safaricom and she had seen how doing business with them can help grow and transform businesses.
How did getting involved with Safaricom Women in Business help her business?
She says that at first it was a big boost to her business, because just getting in was extremely rigorous. They were elated to have been compliant and seeing the benefits of having their business documentation in order throughout the years.
How has she personally gained? She benefited greatly from the capacity building sessions that Safaricom holds for them. They have encouraged her to be more outgoing in seeking new businesses and terrain and she is definitely more equipped when responding to tenders than when she began.
Their biggest benefit as an agency came from being in the mentorship group mentorship.ke within the Safaricom WIB movement.
She learnt great lessons from her mentors, on how to to be able to get the best for their customers, in both the digital space and communications space. She has also gotten to know business process and why it is important to talk to the right person who can advance your business.
These are just but some of the many women who have seen the benefit of partnering with Safaricom as their continuous approaches to involving women fit well into the 2019 theme for International Women’s Day – Balance for Better.
Under the theme (which is yearlong), the campaign theme provides a unified direction to guide and galvanize continuous collective action, with #BalanceforBetter activity reinforced and amplified all year. Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage. Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.