IoDSA steps in to equip more women for board roles
Wednesday, 14 August 2019
To mark Women’s Month, the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA) is offering women a golden opportunity to gain the skills and networks needed to make their mark in South Africa’s boardrooms. Parmi Natesan, CEO of the IoDSA, says that in order to ensure that boards become more gender-balanced, women need to make sure that they are very well positioned to take advantage of increased opportunities to serve on corporate boards in both the public and private sectors.
“As a result of increased pressure, as well as regulatory requirements, like the JSE requiring companies to have and report on their policy on the promotion of gender diversity at board level, we can expect more and more opportunities to open up for women in South Africa’s boardrooms—but it’s essential that there is a sufficiently large pool of qualified female talent to draw on,” she says. “That’s the motivation behind our offer of a 30% discount on membership of the Institute, and the same discount on our “Being a Director” training package, booked exclusively by women during the month of August.”
“We chose 30% because we are members and supporters of the 30% Club, which aims to improve gender balance on boards.”
Governance codes like King IV emphasise the need for boards to engage more deeply with their stakeholders in order to make better business decisions. Women, who make up more than half the population, and who exert enormous influence over purchasing decisions in their families and, increasingly, in the educated workforce and corporate world, are thus a critical stakeholder group. Research also increasingly links gender diversity and financial performance, a better record on sustainability, and a greater contribution to global GDP. As a result, the business sense of including more women on boards is thus no longer questionable.
Ms Natesan says that the 30% offer covers two important areas for aspirant female directors.
Membership of the IoDSA will open up access to its thought leadership and guidance, and will also provide a platform for networking with like-minded people. Building strong networks is vital in ensuring that one hears about board vacancies early on, and that one’s name is known in boardrooms when potential appointments are discussed.
“However, while a good network is invaluable in getting one into the right interviews, one also has to be able to demonstrate the right skills. Our focused director training leads to the Certified Director designation, which signals to the market knowledge of corporate governance,” says Ms. Natesan. “Those women who take up this offer are putting themselves on the pathway to becoming truly professional directors.”
“There is no doubt that the demand for female directors is only going to grow. The IoDSA is committed to ensuring that those ambitious women who want to be part of this boardroom revolution are equipped to do so,” she ends.