With the world racing towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, which aims to reach gender equality by 2030, South Africa’s Women’s Month echoes this profound and all-important target.  This year’s theme: ‘Accelerating Socio-Economic Opportunities for Women’s Empowerment’, will focus on acceleration of socio-economic programmes and activities that are undertaken across different economic sectors to fast-track gender mainstreaming across these initiatives.

Schneider Electric operations are deeply aligned with SDG 5; the company was certified as one of the country’s Top Gender Empowered Companies 2023 by Topco Media and has globally been recognised by Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI) for its efforts to increase gender equity through an inclusive and caring environment.

Nimmita Maharaj, Diversity and Transformation Director at Schneider Electric says: “It is critical that we all look at innovative solutions to help women and girls in our society, to unleash their potential to become leaders, entrepreneurs, and agents for resilience and inclusive development. Women’s socio-economic empowerment can be fostered with a focus on educating females at all levels and equipping and enabling them to build capability and skills.

“To this end, we continue to prioritise programmes for our ladies, such as ‘How Women Rise’ and ‘Still, I Rise’, and this August we are excited to launch a Women’s Forum across Anglophone Africa which is aptly named the Schneider Electric Ladies Forum (SELF) that aims to promote the fostering of ‘self’ in terms of wellbeing, development, and empowerment. As women, we need to dispel the idea that it is selfish when we put ourselves first, which comes from a desire to please others. We must make selfcare a priority,” says Maharaj.

One of Schneider Electric’s key strategic drivers is to hire and create opportunities for women within the company. As a female employee, it is fulfilling to work in an environment that actively supports and promotes women, whilst fostering a sense of empowerment and confidence amongst all our female employees. This, in turn, encourages them to take on leadership roles and contribute significantly to the company’s success.” says Modlay Davids, Talent Acquisition & Employer Branding Specialist at Schneider Electric.

Women at work

Cynthia Mankge’s journey at Schneider Electric exemplifies the company’s dedication to gender inclusivity. Joining the company as a recent graduate in 2013, she ventured into technical support before transitioning to the tendering team.

In just a few years, Cynthia’s potential was recognised, and she was promoted to lead the local tendering team, encompassing Southern Africa, East Africa, and West Africa. With a background in electrical engineering, Cynthia’s exposure at Schneider Electric extends beyond her technical qualifications, thanks to the company’s commitment to personal development programmes.

Says Mankge: “Schneider Electric’s ‘How Women Rise’ programme for example has been instrumental in boosting my visibility and confidence in a male-dominated industry. The company’s support has enabled me to deliver results and lead the tendering team effectively.”

Gina Santos, distribution sales manager at Schneider Electric started her initial eight-year career at Schneider Electric in the marketing department in 2006, finding her passion in distribution sales. Her role allowed her to travel across Southern Africa, organising events and fostering relationships with various clients.

Santos rejoined Schneider Electric 2020. “I love being an all-rounder, handling logistics, marketing, and working with different people. Schneider Electric’s culture of embracing diversity and promoting inclusion has enabled me to grow and excel in my current position,” she says.

With a background in law, Ravishka Jairam joined Schneider Electric in 2019, stepping into the world of tendering. Within a short timeframe, she was appointed tendering manager for the Services Anglophone Cluster, responsible for 21 countries.

Schneider Electric’s commitment to continuous learning has allowed Jairam to explore various aspects of the business. “The company encourages an open-minded approach and provides opportunities to lead projects. This exposure has been instrumental in my growth and success within Schneider Electric,” she adds.

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