By Samuel Linyondi
The 2023 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Report found that around 2.4 billion working-age women are not afforded equal economic opportunity worldwide. Published by the United Nations in 2015, the SDGs are a collection of seventeen interlinked objectives designed to serve as a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. The Fifth Goal aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
In commemorating Human Rights Day, known as Namibian Women’s Day, Bank Windhoek proudly supports Namibian women in the workforce. According to data from the Bank’s Human Capital Department, of the 1763 total employees of Bank Windhoek, 1125 are female, making up 64 percent of the workforce. In 2016, Bank Windhoek reached a milestone when it announced Baronice Hans as its first female Managing Director, a first for the Namibian banking industry.
Like International Women’s Day, celebrated worldwide, Namibian Women’s Day is commemorated annually on 10 December. It is a day when women from all walks of life are recognised for their achievements. As a result, a few of the Bank’s senior women employees shared their advice, experience of their corporate journey and how they navigate the environment:
Jacquiline Pack, Executive Officer of Marketing and Corporate Communication Services: “Tools that have helped me manage the corporate environment have been my relationship with God, being coached and having an aptitude for resilience. In my journey, I was able to mitigate pressures through prayer and coaching as it helped me focus on matters that are of importance.”
Claire Hobbs, Chief Treasurer: “The most important thing I have learned in my 40-plus years of working is that as a woman, always stand up for yourself; you deserve to be heard and sit at the table. Do not be afraid to give your opinion or to disagree. Stand by what you believe but be able to see another person’s point of view and show respect, and you will earn respect.”
Michelle Juling, Manager of Human Resources Shared Services: “I have learned through the years that my leadership is most effective when I do not determine my success on what I cannot control rather than what I can control. I have also learned that love and accountability are the keys to outstanding leadership. You need both to lead a team and in the right combination. However, it would help if you held them accountable. When you have love and accountability for your team, you build a family and a great team that improves each other. You should be humble and consider leading a privilege with demanding expectations, but always remember that “it is not about you.”
As part of celebrating Women’s Day, more interviews will be available on the Bank’s Facebook and Instagram social media pages on 10 December 2023.
The Bank’s other women support initiatives
In November, Bank Windhoek’s Head of Strategic Communication, Hayley Allen, said that the Bank has been a proud sponsor and partner of the Katuka Mentorship Programme since 2020. Launched in 2001, the Katuka Mentorship Programme aims to empower and encourage entrepreneurs, business and professional women to achieve their goals by matching a mentee and mentor with a similar professional and personal interest. The Programme’s core objective is to create a platform for personal growth and advancement of leadership skills for participants to enhance their individual and institutional success. To date, 485 entrepreneurs and businesswomen have completed the Programme.
Also, this year, the Bank’s Executive Officer of Human Capital, Retuura Ballotti, announced amendments to the Bank’s Maternity Leave Benefits, which ensures that female employees obtain their full basic salary, less social security benefit payment. Ballotti added that the Bank is confident this change will positively impact the lives of its female workforce as it strives to support women empowerment.
Samuel Linyondi is Bank Windhoek’s Strategic Communication Manager