GNA feature by Mrs. Mansa Nettey – Chief Executive, Standard
Chartered Bank Ghana Limited

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Accra, March 17, GNA – The International Women’s Day was
instituted more than 100 years ago – in 1911, while the Fourth World Conference
on Women by the United Nations (UN), popularly known in Ghana as the Beijing
Conference, occurred 25 years ago.

These two events mark milestones on the difficult drive for
gender equality. We have made strides along the way that have sustained our
progress.

Gender equality is not an issue that has to be tackled by
women only; it is economically expedient to get all hands-on board in achieving
this goal.

The “HeforShe” initiative by the UN is an example of how men
need to make conscious efforts at closing the gender gap.

Research is unanimous in arguing that women’s active
participation in the workforce bolsters productivity and enhances the economic
growth of any organisation, yet, practically, statistics also reveal that
enough is not being done in this regard.

A study by “The Boardroom Africa” shows that women make up a
paltry 8% of all Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) listed on Ghana’s Stock
Exchange and they form just 3% of all Chairpersons on Ghana’s listed boards.

In other words, female CEOs and female Chairpersons are less
than 1 in 10, and 1 in 5, respectively.

There are similar figures for positions like Managing
Director (MD), Chief Operations Officer (COO), and Chief Financial Officer
(CFO), where women occupy 5% or less across companies in Ghana.

Again, women represent 15% of company secretaries. In terms
of directors, there are 62 female directors to 244 male directors. And finally,
out of all non-executive directors on Ghana’s listed boards, women constitute
20%. These statistics illuminate the extensive gap that requires concerted and
strategic efforts by all players in corporate Ghana.

This data does not reflect the immense contribution of women
in our corporate workforce; rather it illuminates the various biases which
inhibit their progress and affirms our view that in order to ensure women’s
equality at the upper echelons of any corporate organisation, a safe working
space has to be provided for all genders to thrive; where women perceive that
they can give the best of themselves without imposed stereotypical albatrosses
around their necks, we will be all the better for it.

These figures clearly demonstrate the extensive gap that
requires concerted and strategic efforts by all players in corporate Ghana.

International Women’s Day 2020 has been a great opportunity
for us at Standard Chartered to continue to promote equality and inclusion. We
know we are heading in the right direction but remain acutely aware of the need
to take bolder actions to rapidly level the playing field for our clients,
colleagues and stakeholders.

As we foreground the lives of 49.2% of our female workforce,
other female stakeholders and especially our female customers, we reiterate
that achieving gender equality requires effort from all genders especially
those in privileged
positions.               

Ensuring gender equality transcends individual acts,
especially when systemic and structural regimes maintain the status quo. We
need to prioritise actions over rhetoric. 

It is refreshing that the female representation on our senior
leadership team is 47% and that of our board, 38%, something ahead of our
global aspirations as a Bank.

Added to that, are the high standards of conduct and the safe
channels for employees to speak up should they face any form of gendered
harassment or abuse. Furthermore, we prioritize work-life balance through our
parental leave policy. Our female colleagues are eligible for up to 5 months of
paid maternity leave while our male colleagues get up to 2 weeks of paid
paternity leave. This helps ease the burden placed on women after childbirth
and encourages both parents to actively support each other on the parenting
journey. We believe that our colleagues should not be forced to choose between
being good parents and good employees. We can do both.

I believe our female staff are doing a great job
–overachieving targets, mentoring and training talent and living up to W.E.B
Dubois’s quote which says, “There is no force more powerful than a woman
determined to rise.”

We will continue to support them to reach the apex of their
careers and take on the world.

We can only continue to volunteer our skills and time to
support the development and progress of women across the age spectrum by way of
mentoring and coaching sessions with girls in second and third cycle
institutions.

Having been in the Ghanaian market for over 120 years, we
remain committed to supporting communities to become more prosperous by
sustainably supporting small, medium and large corporates while enabling the
full potential of women in a balanced working environment.

GNA



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