A study conducted by Forbes ranks inclusion and diversity as critical components to ensure success on a global scale. While a lot of work is being done across every sector to drive transformation and greater equality in the workplace, the tech industry has placed this imperative front and centre in its growth strategies.
Diversity and inclusion are two of the biggest drivers for innovation.
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This is according to Thomas Pays, CEO and co-founder of Ozow, who explains that advancements in technology are helping to create a more accessible, equal, and inclusive society. “For us to achieve this, tech companies have entrenched diversity and inclusion into their value systems and how they operate like businesses – across every department and level.”
“It’s not about filling any quotas. We’ve recognised the true value that diversity brings. Creating an inclusive and truly representative team of exceptional talent across our entire business has been instrumental to our success,” points out Pays.
Its approach to transformation has shaped Ozow into one of the leading fintech companies in the market. Testament to its success, the company recently announced its $48m Series B funding round led by Tencent.
But success shouldn’t leave companies idle of their responsibility to continue breaking new ground, Pays reaffirms.
Further strengthening its commitment to transformation, Ozow has appointed two female powerhouses to its board – Rutendo Hlatshwayo (Chief Legal Officer at Ozow) and Oriel Pays (Chief People Officer at Ozow).
“We need to ensure young girls have strong role models of other successful women in the STEM sector”
With a solid track record in both the legal and fintech sectors, Hlatshwayo looks forward to supporting the board with her wealth of knowledge, legal insights, and expertise. “Female representation is important. What matters more, however, is that we’ve worked hard, provide substance, and provide a diversity of thought that will only bolster our already strong board.”
“My appointment also shows so many young legal minds that their careers don’t have to follow a linear path. Tech is growing at a phenomenal rate – with this growth comes a plethora of opportunity for those eager to carve a path out in this exciting field – especially women of colour,” Hlatshwayo adds.
With a strong focus on building talent in tech, Oriel Pays agrees with this sentiment. “Technology doesn’t see race, age or gender, but rather capability. What’s great about this is that there are no limitations on where the best talent may come from. This has created a more level playing field and has allowed incredibly talented women to become captains of industry.”
Women only represent 13 percent of company boards in South Africa.
“We need to ensure young girls have strong role models of other successful women in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) sector. Whether on a board, at C-suite level, or even leading a team that drives innovation, more needs to be done to drive the transformation needed,” she adds.
Despite decades of progress towards achieving equality in the workplace, statistics from the World Economic Forum have shown that companies globally only have an average female representation of 30 percent at the board level. In South Africa, this number is even lower, where women only represent 13 percent of company boards in the country.
While the technology sector is no different from this imbalance, this is rapidly changing thanks to the concerted efforts by many of the top tech companies who are carving out a path for many women to follow.
Featured image by Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash