Gender equality has been a prevalent topic in recent years, and while progress has been made in different parts of the world, there is still a long way to go, particularly in emerging markets.
Women in these regions face various obstacles, including limited access to education, healthcare, and finance, cultural norms, and unconscious bias, which have limited their economic empowerment. Unfortunately, the pandemic has further exacerbated these pre-existing challenges, leading to the reversal of several decades of progress.
However, alternative payment methods like mobile money have been instrumental in bridging the gender gap in these markets.
Orit Federlein-Doodai, head of HR, EMEA at PayU Global Payments, notes that such methods provide women with access to digital financial services, empowering them to spend, save, and manage their own money, thereby investing in their economic future.
Additionally, these digital tools have made it easier for women to access loans and telehealth healthcare services, improving the quality of their daily lives.
The Role of Technology in Workplace Diversity
In the workplace, technology and digitization have been revolutionary, enhancing flexibility and enabling more women to work remotely, leading to more time spent with their families.
Still, there is more that can be done to fill the gaps that remain in the workplace. Federlein-Doodai suggests that companies like PayU can prioritize qualified female candidates during the hiring process, as many of these candidates may have been overlooked due to inconsistencies in their profile.
Beyond recruitment, global companies can integrate gender into their workplace policies, including additional skills training and programs empowering women to take on leadership roles, fair compensation practices, and standard promotion procedures that enable deserving women to move up the corporate ladder easily and fairly.
This can be achieved by creating a committee to drive these initiatives throughout the employee life cycle, from onboarding through to promotion, to ensure that female employees receive the same treatment as their male colleagues.
Tailored Solutions for Different Markets
While driving gender equality is a priority for companies, Federlein-Doodai warns against treating diversity and inclusion as a one-off initiative. Instead, it should be a continuous process that becomes part and parcel of a company’s workplace practices.
Companies that make this a top priority will reap the positive benefits of a thriving gender diverse workforce, as diverse teams with different perspectives and experiences have been shown to unlock innovation and technology, critical to a company’s bottom-line growth and development.
However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, and global companies will need local, tailor-made solutions to address the specific needs of women in each market they operate in.
In conclusion, Federlein-Doodai hopes to see more female leaders in managerial positions and decision-making tables, inspiring a new generation of leaders. She envisions more female CEOs to be so common that it won’t be a topic for discussion or promotion.