Empowerment, Unity, and Collective Growth

Empowerment, Unity, and Collective Growth

Empowerment, Unity, and Collective Growth

by-Mbali Milanzi

Only when we take time out to be introspective, to truly soul search, can we uncover our inner wisdom. It takes honesty – looking at our trials and triumphs and using them to figure out how to move forward as stronger, more empowered women.

And just as we can do that individually, it is important to do it as an organisation. And one question that I want to do a deep dive into is why we, Tshepa Basadi, do not have a 100% female workforce. Our name means “trust women”, after all!

Some might say it is because we need diversity. On that point, I agree. Others might suggest that there simply aren’t enough women with project management skills in the mining industry. And on that point, I disagree. When I see a group of women in mining, I see all the necessary skills. So, why aren’t we seeing this dream of a 100% female workforce coming to life? Well, I see three main reasons. Let’s explore each one in turn.

  • Women Who Succeed Are Not Liked

The societal narrative has long associated success with likeability. I experienced this as a young girl in school – I was battling to build relationships, and I found out years later many didn’t like me because I was smart! 

For direct, ambitious, and action-oriented women, the path is difficult and lonely. Shockingly, recent statistics reveal that a significant proportion of women in corporate settings feel not only isolated but also unsupported, overworked, and unappreciated. In addition, they feel they are not progressing and do not get help to succeed.

  • Hesitation to Seek Help

I’ve often met and connected with young women, forging careers in our industry. They bravely ask me for help, we swap numbers and then… nothing. They never follow up.

On the other hand, I recently had a bright young man ask me to be his mentor. We’ve had three sessions together, and he’s already made strides in his career.

When I asked him why he specifically asked me to mentor him, he said, “Because I know how tough male-dominated industries like mining can be, and I wanted a strong black woman who is doing well in this arena to teach me how to climb the corporate ladder, I don’t think men have much to teach me because men have it easy.”

If only we could all be as perceptive as this young man and recognise the unique and invaluable qualities women bring to traditionally male-dominated industries.

  • Juggling Multiple Roles

A lot of the time, I feel like I can’t catch a break. Between client engagements, work crisis after crisis, running a business and growing my career, I am also trying to be the best mom and wife I can be. 

I know I am not alone in struggling to keep all the balls in the air – feeling overwhelmed and wishing for a moment to breathe.

A Call to Action

We’ve identified some challenges, but how can we address them? I believe it’s time to ‘Level Up’

  • Let’s break the cycle of ‘pull her down syndrome’.  
  • Let’s foster collaboration.
  • Let’s recognise that any woman’s success is a success for the entire community.

Our call is not about diminishing the role of men but about lifting women collectively and being active contributors to the advancement of our community.

Sir Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. Let’s all stand on the shoulders of giants and learn from those who have paved the way, supporting and uplifting each other to create an unbreakable foundation for future growth.

At Tshepa Basadi, we celebrate our achievements and the remarkable women contributing to our success. And we acknowledge that there are challenges that lie ahead. To address these, we advocate for actively supporting women in the workplace through training, coaching, and mentorship. We support women-owned enterprises, forums, conferences, and anything else that will advance our cause.

We’re committed to breaking the barriers that hinder progress and paving the way for a future where every woman can thrive. As Tshepa Basadi grows, it is not just a company’s success. It is a testament to the power of women coming together, embracing their strengths, and lifting each other to greater heights.

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