As part of a smorgasbord of events at the ChangeNow 2021 programme, the UN HeforShe initiative which advocates for the creation of a more diverse and less gender-bias world, especially in workplaces, had a host of speakers including the Chief Executive (CE) of the Standard Bank Group, Sim Tshabalala, discussing ways to solve today’s gender issues.
Tshabalala, in his remarks, noted that to advance its goal toward the creation of a gender-balanced work environment, the Standard Bank Group made a conscious decision to ensure that women in its organisation were adequately represented, not only in lower positions but also in executive levels.
He said: “It became clearly obvious over time that we could not continue with an organisation that is very well represented in terms of women at the bottom end of the organisation, whereas the top of the organisation does not have adequate representation of women.”
When asked about the ‘Last Mile’ programme sponsored by the bank, the bank’s CE said that the programme aided the articulation of the company’s goal which was to “identify more women who could become senior chief executives in our business, and we set targets for those.”
The Last Mile programme has successfully promoted competent individuals into positions such as regional chief executives and country chief executives, with two women appointed as chief executives in Standard Bank’s Africa Region Business.
“It’s early days yet, but we’re very proud of what we have achieved in it,” Tshabalala added.
Speaking further, Shabalala spoke on the mode of language used in work environments, especially in relation to women, noting that a cautioned approach creates a friendlier workplace.
The HeforShe initiative was launched in 2014 under the leadership of the former United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, with support pouring in from various quarters including presidents, universities, police forces and representatives of other private sector organisations like the Standard Bank Group.
Standard Bank Tackles Gender Inequality
In line with the 5th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG); Gender Equality which seeks to ‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’, Stanbic IBTC a subsidiary of Standard Bank Group has called for gender equality across all nations.
Standard Bank actively seeks gender equality by implementing policies that promote the welfare of women and girls, creating a friendly working environment for women, encouraging women to rise to the top of their profession and fighting for a balanced environment for women and girls.
Standard Bank while promoting gender equality said “We can only drive Africa’s growth if we play our part in ensuring that women and girls enjoy the same rights as men and boys. In the corporate world, that also means that we must create an enabling environment, free from bias, in which women are able to advance and succeed on the basis of merit and ability. We recognise that it is unnatural and unsustainable to have a gender imbalance in our leadership.”
Over the last five years, a unique group of world leaders from government, business and academia has worked tirelessly to address some of today’s most pressing social issues. Known as HeForShe Champions, these Presidents, Prime Ministers, CEOs, Standard Bank Group and Academic Leaders are coming together at the HeForShe Summit to share their collection of solutions for gender equality.
The HeForShe Summit is the leading platform of the United Nations for policy, corporate and academic leaders who are working for a more diverse, inclusive and gender-equal world.
Sim Tshabalala said, “Achieving gender equity is a moral duty, a business imperative, and just plain common sense. Women embody half the world’s talent, skill and energy – and more than half of its purchasing power. So every sensible business leader must be committed to achieving gender equity in their company and to contributing to gender equity in the societies in which we operate. Standard Bank is therefore committed to reaching parity in executive positions across our operations.”