Standard Bank talks effective female leadership in business

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Gender shouldn’t be a factor in whether or not a person can be a great leader — a person’s leadership abilities should depend on their individual strengths and personality traits. But women aren’t encouraged to take on leadership roles as often as their male counterparts, contributing to an imbalance of who’s in power. As women are just as qualified as men to lead, why is there such a huge disparity? As a trusted partner and a brand of influence, Standard Bank wants to lend its voice in supporting the call for female leadership in business.

“For so long, women have determined career success by their ability to adjust to the male-dominated culture and business processes in their field. Women try to play by the existing rules in the workplace and have the additional hurdle of society’s perceptions of how women should act and be seen. While education and practice are reducing some of the invisible anxiety of being a woman in a leadership role, there are still challenges to face and overcome. As Standard Bank, we would like to encourage the current women leaders to embrace their role-model status and address those challenges head-on with action and execution,” explains Jenine Zachar, Head of Enterprise Development at Standard Bank.

Women are pragmatic, resilient and usually able to manoeuvre tricky situations with grace. Their perspectives are borne out of a mix of trial-by-fire and sheer fortitude. They look at the world with bravery and are able to piece together the world around them like a complex puzzle. Here are some of the reasons as to why women make great leaders in business:

  • Women motivate others by transforming their individual self-interest into the goals of the business;
  • Women encourage participation, sharing power and information by enhancing people’s self-worth in business;
  • Women ascribe their power to interpersonal skills or personal contacts, rather than to business stature; and
  • Women as leaders believe that people perform best when they feel good about themselves and their work, and they try to create situations that contribute to that feeling.

“More and more women in leadership positions are pushing the boundaries of gender equality by utilising their strengths and leadership qualities in skill, knowledge, experience and emotion — and are doing so with authenticity, both inside and outside of the boardroom. They are pursuing the things they want from their job and their career, not waiting for it to come to them. The key is confidence in all your resources and abilities, not just those presented on paper. The big challenge is to keep our perspectives top of mind in conversations at the corporate level, and also among family and friends, so the mindset shift can happen. Be resilient that change will come,” says Zachar.


Being result-oriented while still showing consideration, care and remaining professional in business is the key to effective leadership, a feat that women are amply capable of achieving. To help women progress, Standard Bank has implemented various initiatives focused on growth and development from both an internal and external perspective. Supported by United Nations Women and The Commission for Gender Equality, The Top Women Conference joins hands with women from all walks of life in an ambitious campaign and a refreshed narrative in Brave Conversations, that focuses on the advancement of women and girls. “Our Brave Conversation theme is a unique opportunity to learn and be fast tracked to high-level networking with women and girls to ensure valuable exposure to empower them,” concludes Zachar.

This inspiring and motivating narrative will be explored by some of South Africa’s leading women at the Standard Bank Brave Conversations Conference. The conference will be in a form of a webinar to respect and adhere to the lockdown and social distancing. This gathering will take place over two days and will be attended by some of the nation’s most accomplished businesswomen and thought leaders on October 1 and 2 2020.

Standard Bank – It Can Be.

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