What does it mean to be a woman in the professional workplace? How do we appreciate and celebrate the strengths of leaders who are women? And where does mental health fit into the picture? This panel discussion with leaders from Digify Africa touches on the unique experiences of working woman in Africa. – Article written by Kele Scheppers.
In this webinar, hosted on International Women’s Day, Chief Operating Officer of Digify Africa Qhakaza Mohare discussed the realities of being a woman in the workplace with three project managers across the continent. Florence Atunwa Olumodimu from Nigeria, Celestine Lugaye Ukpere from Kenya, and Keneilwe Malotle from South Africa join Mohare to consider:
- How women can challenge negative stereotypes of women in leadership positions
- Taking on roles in technology which is one of the most male-dominated industries in Africa
- The strengths of women’s empathy and emotion in the workplace
- The importance of women’s wellness in light of the responsibilities in the workplace and the home
Working from home during the pandemic has been no easy feat for women, says Mohare: “In South Africa we found ourselves being put in a hard lockdown where we all found ourselves working from home, but schools were also closed. Moms found themselves having to be in Zoom meetings and also homeschool… What’s interesting is challenging your own self and unlearning that we have to take it all on.”
Ukpere agreed with this sentiment: “The pressure has always been put on the caregiver who is a woman in the house. My focus has been learning negotiation, so that I can deliver at work as well as in the home front. It’s a hard stereotype to pull away from, so we have to put in extra effort to negotiate the space.”
Speaking in the context of the Covid pandemic, Ukpere highlighted that out of every three jobs that were lost, two belonged to women. “More women were less inclined to have work which allowed for remote working. Remote working involves technology and this is something that I’m passionate about. I’ve been spreading the word about upskilling yourself in these short courses – especially when these courses are free,” she said.
Olumodimu picks up on technology being essential for entrepreneurs as a way to counter the employment challenges that have arisen from the pandemic.
“Technology is a field where, just like in many other fields, women are not well represented so being able to be part of the conversation and part of the people that are contributing their own little drops in the field really excites me and I’m looking forward to challenging the status quo,” said Florence Atunwa Olumodimu, Project Manager for Digify Africa in Nigeria.
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