If we bow to the belief that business is a "man’s kingdom", we, as women, will fail to break through that glass ceiling. We need to cast off the shackles of marginalisation and suppression and fight for our right to equal opportunities, taking other women with us on our climb to the top.
We should be conscious of the diversity of the society in which we operate in every facet of our lives, whether it be gender, race, age, culture or religion, and celebrate the differences that enrich our lives. We must open our eyes to diversity, reach out to one another, and optimise our co-existence.
The focus in the workplace this month should be on offering equal opportunities of advancement to all potential candidates.
Women have the potential to lead and lead well, if they are offered the opportunity.
Sometimes they forget about those following in the wake of their success, so mentoring others is an investment to make to swell the ranks of women who achieve their full potential.
For some this is to serve at an executive level or become a board member, but other successful business women fear being in the spotlight of responsibility, which is regrettable.
Working women have the challenge of being seen not only as that, but as partner, mother and home-maker all wrapped into one. "Superwoman" is an apt description.
Flexibility offered in the workplace can be of great assistance in letting women cope with the challenges of these contrasting responsibilities. Whether it be flexi-hours, child care or working from home options, companies can facilitate and smooth the way for women employees.
Companies have the responsibility to bring about change, and for this to happen the development and enforcement of appropriate policies is essential.
Women should respond by keeping themselves at peak performance by looking after for their health, personal grooming and always having a positive attitude. So often the stresses of domestic life combined with the challenges of the work situation result in a relaxation of these standards, bad eating habits and neglected grooming.
A healthy, dynamic woman shines with confidence and assurance, and attracts respect.
This Women’s Month, let the women at the top not forget their responsibility to encourage others, while enforcing the type of policies that will achieve diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. It is up to women leaders to work to bring about change.
I see as one of my achievements the introduction of women into leadership roles in the businesses I am involved in. As one sits on the throne of success, the successful woman needs to leverage her power to bring about change for others.
* Dr Anna Mokgokong, a medical doctor, is co-founder and executive chairperson of Community Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd, and serves on boards of five JSE-listed companies. She is also an Honorary Consul General of Iceland in Pretoria.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.