MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN 2016/17
Women Shifting the Norms
Who are the women of Africa that are making a difference? Why is it important to recognise them? What impact are they making? All questions that are asked on a regular basis. In an attempt to seek answers it is useful to review the business landscape on the Continent.
Are women leaders emerging at a significant rate? Is female representation on the Boards of companies increasing? Has the salary gap decreased? Are women business owners offered the same financial support opportunities from banks as their male counterparts? How do historical cultural traditions affect some female entrepreneurs?
Important questions, but have the answers significantly changed in the past 10 years? No.
The Continent has many women of influence that are actively working to shift the norms - women who are inspirational, effectual, powerful and encouraging. These are the pioneering women that simply do not give consideration to barriers placed in their path. They are the important role models and decision makers that are bringing a positive energy to the empowerment and recognition of the work being achieved by the female of the species.
In 2016 the nominations received from throughout the Continent were of an exceptionally high calibre giving the first panels the almost impossible task of choosing who should not move forward. By the time finalists were chosen the judges were in agreement that in 2016 a greater number of high calibre women had accepted their nomination with pride than in previous years.
These are women that understand how maintaining focus has assisted them to achieve their goals even when faced with some of life’s hurdles. They all share a commitment towards giving back to create opportunity for others.
In todays turbulent business world there are countless hurdles to any individual being successful. Negotiating ever changing laws to protect privacy, stop cyber crime, circumvent the variety of sophisticated fraudulent scams and to keep up with disruptive new business methodologies has become the new norm for todays leadership. The African Women of Influence in 2016 are utilising their skill with tenacity and a calm commitment. Each is a role model that is in control of her environment, understands what she needs to do to achieve at the highest level and all share the same awareness of the importance of empowering others.
Our world is ever shrinking within the connectivity provided by technology but this provides new mountains to climb as the need to remain relevant becomes more acute. The 2016 awardees are in touch with their world, their environment, their communities and society as a whole. They are making a difference and are not frightened to engage in the excitement that continuous change engenders. Eventually the gender gaps will be reduced and a businessperson will be applauded for what they are achieving and not in the shadow of what they have had to overcome.