Women represent a significant part of the work force and of the customer base of most companies. Yet, with a few notable exceptions, their representation on boards is lacking. Broadening the gender diversity of boards not only helps increase the size of the candidate pool and therefore the quality of potential board members, but it also helps broaden the perspectives and experience of an entire team. A well-functioning board of directors needs diversity of experience and perspectives. If everybody thinks the same, then there is no need for a board; one individual would suffice.
BPW South Africa, in partnership with the Department of Trade & Industry have pioneered a unique Women on Boards director development programme - the only one of its kind in South Africa. The programme is distinctively packaged to incorporate all areas of skills development such as corporate governance, legislation, finance, fraud detection, personal risk, media, leadership, presentations, understanding the JSE, and much more. Furthermore, it is the sole training programme in South Africa certified by the Department of Trade & Industry - created specifically to increase female leadership within South Africa. Currently 20 senior businesswomen have signed up for the training in Johannesburg with a further programme commencing in Cape Town.
Graduates from this programme are placed on the Women on Boards database and are confirmed by the Department of Trade & Industry - through a graduation certificate - to be sufficiently trained as potential non-executive board members. There are remarkable women out there, who unfortunately are unknown because they are not already serving on boards. BPW SA and the dti are therefore taking a proactive approach to fill the empty pipeline. Ideally these women will be placed onto boards of smaller companies or growing ones where they will be given an opportunity to learn the ropes, with less risk. There's no question that these trained women can do the job; they are highly capable and can bring a huge wealth of experience and ability to the boardroom table. All that is required is the opportunity. This new generation of women really believe they can be assets. They know the value and skills that they can bring to a boardroom. For more information, or to attend the Business Breakfast, please visit our website at www.bpw-jhbsa.co.za