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Fijian Women Set To Make Cracks On Ceiling

Fijian Women Set To Make Cracks On Ceiling
From left: Director for South Sea Cruises, FHL Stockbrokers Limited and FHL Media Limited Catherine Grey, Director for Life Cinema Saleshni Warran, Director for FHL Fund Management Limited Ana Tuiketei, Fijian Holdings Unit Trust Trustee Seruwaia Hong Tiy, Director for Basic Industries Limited Kalpana Lal, Director for RB Patel Limited Litiana Loabuka, and Director for Pacific Cement Limited Nikita Patel. Photo: Shiv Maharaj
July 17
10:35 2017

Fijian women have come a long way in their various professions to break down that invisible glass ceiling.

They are leading the charge in their departments, organisations and in business. There are many shining examples of women leaders amongst us today.

Gender equality at all levels of our society is crucial for our development.

Not only because women make up half the population of Fiji, but because women are qualified and capable leaders in their respective fields.

Studies suggest that companies with higher female representation at the top ranks deliver better organisational and financial results.

The recent and continuing programme developed by the South Pacific Stock Exchange with support of the Asian Development Bank’s Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) should be commended.

This is because in the 19 listed companies on the SPSE, there are only 13 women directors compared to 104 male directors.

It is a dismal figure and the ratio must be balanced.

It is no easy feat for a developing country like ours. But we are not alone.  This inequality is prevalent in most developing countries.

Even in European circles, VeraJourová, the first European Commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality noted the gap evident in the boardroom.

Her comments drive home the need to have women representation in our boardrooms.

“Gender diversity in the boardroom is shown to lead to innovative ideas, increased competitiveness and performance, and improved corporate governance,” she said.

“More women in leadership positions also signal to the outside world that a company understands the complexity of world markets and is prepared to compete at the global level.

“Gender equality is not an option, it is not a luxury, it is an imperative and it is a competitive advantage.

“That is why Europe needs strong rules to tackle the gender imbalance in company boardrooms.”

The challenge for most of the women we (Fiji Sun) spoke to after the 2-day workshop was the same.

The challenge encompass finding balance in their professional and motherly role, barriers in the organisational culture and structure and finding the right support network to assist in their career path.

This year 26 women were nominated by 17 Fijian companies listed on the SPSE to take part in the two-day Women in Leadership programme.

The move is certainly a step in the right direction to get more women seat on any boards as directors.

Even if the glass ceiling is yet to be broken, these steps can ensure that there will soon be some cracks.

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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