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Mounting pressure beginning to drive progress for women in senior leadership

As per Grant Thornton’s Women in Business International Business Report, the percentage of businesses in Botswana with at least one woman in senior management stands at 72%, a step closer to the global percentage of 87% which showed an increase of 12% from last year’s survey. The research states that overall, women now hold 29% of senior leadership positions globally. While this is only up 10% over the past 15 years of research, half this increase (5%) has been achieved in the last 12 months alone.

  • 5% raise of women in senior management roles in Botswana over the last year (from 33% to 38%)
  • Women in senior management roles in Botswana (38%) higher than African average (19%) and global average (29%)

Lorato Mosetlhanyane who is a Professional Integral Coach (PCC) at PinnaLead commented, “These figures are incredibly encouraging and a strong indication that gender parity is starting to be taken seriously by businesses. External factors such as increasing organisational transparency, gender pay gap reporting and highly visible public dialogue like the #MeToo movement appear to be making businesses wake up to the change that is needed.”

While the number of women in senior leadership is increasing, gender parity at the head of the table is still a significant way off. The percentage of women in senior management in Botswana stands at 38%, an increase from last year’s 33%. When it comes to the role of CEO or Managing Director, only 6% of businesses in Botswana have a woman leading a business, while globally 15% of businesses have woman leading businesses.

Rebecca Sanchez who was recently promoted as an Associate Director at Grant Thornton said, “Despite the strong business case in favour of gender diversity, change at the top has been slow until now. Hopefully, the sharp increase in the representation of women in senior leadership we’re seeing this year is not purely an immediate reaction to what is currently happening in the social media and that we’ll see steady progress in the coming years.”

If we want to continue seeing female representation trend upwards in senior positions, more deliberate action needs to be taken and leaders will play a critical role. Policies that address equal opportunity in career development, bias in recruitment and flexible working can’t just be a “nice to have”. To achieve meaningful progress, they must be adhered to, enforced and regularly revisited to assess their effectiveness and when that is combined with real commitment from senior leadership, a truly inclusive culture is created.

At Grant Thornton our years of reporting on women in business, our experience as a global network of firms, and our own efforts to achieve gender balance at executive level have shown us that progress comes through deliberate action in targeted areas. By committing to these actions, all businesses can drive positive change. Grant Thornton’s research report “Women in business: building a blueprint for action” highlights what’s working, what continues to remain a barrier, as well as a number of action items that can drive change regarding gender diversity. Access the report here:

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