• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

IWD 2024: Inspire inclusion – A tale of courage!

Unseen, unheard: Inspiring inclusion for confined women

Roseline is passionate about her job and has been identified as a top talent in her organisation. She has consistently shown strong performance in her role. A vacant promotion for a regional manager role became available, and Roseline’s manager was excited to promote her. However, there was a caveat: she had just returned from maternity leave and couldn’t relocate with her newborn baby to another region.

Mr Akpan, Roseline’s line manager, discussed the opportunity with her, but due to her “situation,” the business had to pass on her promotion as she couldn’t relocate with a newborn baby. Roseline was unhappy; she cried out, “Why am I being discriminated against for a promotion just because I had a baby?” as she shed tears while speaking to her husband.

“Honey, I wanted this promotion so badly and worked hard over the years with sustained performance,” she sobbed. Roseline’s husband’s work is flexible, and he is open to supporting her. “My dear, what about asking your company to sponsor the relocation of your childcare or nanny support? Would that be an option since Grandma is available to relocate? “That might work for us.” Roseline’s spirit lifted.

The next day, Roseline requested to discuss the option of having the company sponsor the relocation of her child’s carer and support services with her line manager. “Uhmmm, Roseline, you know our relocation policy only sponsors employees, not child care or support services for female employees,” Mr Akpan replied. “I know, sir, but that policy is not gender-friendly and calls for a review in light of the current situation,” Roseline answered.

Mr Akpan built the business justification with HR for a revised policy that includes child support services in the relocation policy to allow nursing mothers to relocate their nanny or child caregiver/support to a new location as they settle into their role. This was backed by a return-on-investment analysis. The company’s management approved, and Roseline got her promotion and relocated her family to a new location with full support from her company. She was motivated.

After one year, Roseline’s region received the award for the best-performing region with the highest growth margin at the year-end business performance result. The overall business performance has increased tremendously. Roseline grew her team and clientele base and increased the acquisition of new clients by 40 percent. This translated to an increased market share in her region by 10 percent.

Roseline’s courage to inspire inclusion resulted in the creation of an “inclusive policy.” Indeed, ‘Inspire Inclusion’ encourages everyone to recognise the unique perspectives and contributions of women from all walks of life, including those from marginalised communities.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2024 is focused on ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,’ targeting economic disempowerment with the campaign theme ‘Inspire Inclusion.’

Inspire Inclusion emphasises the importance of diversity and empowerment in all aspects of society and the crucial role of inclusion in achieving gender equality. It calls for action to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create environments where all women are valued and respected.

Happy International Women’s Day 2024!

Coach Lara Yeku (CLY): Head of HR, Food Commercial Division; Certified Business Analysis Professional; Certified Executive Coach and Author.