Program to boost women’s leadership skills

A NEW initiative initiated by the South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPSE) is expected to remove the gender disparity on the boards of public companies.

The initiative is also in line with the recent call by the Reserve Bank of Fiji to action higher participation and representation of women of merit at decision making levels.

Developed in conjunction with the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI), the SPSE yesterday launched the Women in Leadership program to help more Fijian women reach leadership and board positions.

The training, which is provided for 26 women nominated by 17 Fijian companies, will provide relevant skills and tools of trade that are prerequisite to managing leadership positions and occupying board directorships.

In launching the first training session yesterday, SPSE chairperson Dr Nur Bano Ali raised the importance of for all organisations, large or small, to incorporate a gender parity focus as a continuing agenda into the future.

“It’s no secret that women have traditionally faced countless hurdles in comparison to men when it comes to fully participating in the business space,” Dr Ali said.

“Such endemic inequities need to be corrected to create fairer systems where opportunities are presented equally and attractive equally to everyone regardless of gender,” she said.

This, Dr Ali said, could only happen if women participate at decision-making levels which were a must.

SPSE acting chief executive officer Krishika Narayan shared similar sentiments and added that having more women in leadership positions would capture the valuable contributions made towards productivity, organisational performance and economic growth.

“It is now widely recognised that a lack of gender diversity in leadership positions and on boards hinders both economic and social development,” she said.

“This training program, developed in partnership with ADB, will address the gender gap on boards and in key management positions by improving skills and fostering the leadership potential of professional women.”

The two-day training sessions were conducted by PSDI consultants in Suva with the similar remaining sessions to be held within the next four months.

These sessions will focus on topics such as governance, risk management, effective communication, constructing support systems, and the transition to leadership roles.

PSDI is a technical assistance facility undertaken in partnership with the governments of Australia and New Zealand, and ADB. It supports ADB’s 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and to support inclusive, private sector-led economic growth.

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