Gender equality is a pressing global issue that demands action and change. In recognition of those who have shown dedication to making the world a more inclusive place, we are thrilled to introduce the finalists of the 2023 Gender Equality Changemaker Awards. These individuals have displayed extraordinary commitment and innovative thinking in their efforts to promote gender equality. Let’s take a closer look at each of the finalists and their remarkable capstone projects.
Gladys Kanyongo, Zimbabwe – Finance Consultant, New Faces New Voices Zimbabwe Board Member Coordinator and Board Member at HandinHand Zimbabwe:
With over 25 years of experience in the financial and development sectors, Gladys has worked for several financial institutions in Zimbabwe, including the Small & Medium Development Corporation (SMEDCO), where she served as the Chief Executive Officer from 2012 to 2019. During her tenure as CEO of SMEDCO, she successfully recapitalised and repositioned the organisation as a leading SME finance-focused institution in Zimbabwe. Her impressive track record extends to her roles as a grants committee member for SNV, chairing the OFID-funded Poverty Alleviation Fund, and serving as a board member for the SADC Development Finance Resource Centre.
Gladys currently holds positions on the boards of Stimulus Africa, Hand-in-Hand Zimbabwe, and New Faces, New Voices Zimbabwe, where she is also responsible for programmes. Her consultancy projects in the development finance space focus on financial inclusion, project & infrastructure finance, SME finance, youth and women economic empowerment, and policy frameworks.
Gladys’s capstone project focuses on the critical task of reviewing and revising policies to ensure they are gender-inclusive and sensitive. She highlights the importance of implementing sexual harassment policies in the workplace to protect employees from Gender-Based Violence (GBV). Gladys emphasises a participatory approach, allowing everyone to contribute to the policy review process to identify what works, what needs improvement, and new practices that should be adopted. Key indicators for the short-term include the number of policies reviewed and made gender-inclusive.
Gladys’s project extends into the short to medium term, aiming to demonstrate the benefits to women and an increase in their participation at the management level. She underscores that policy changes alone are insufficient; organisations must demonstrate their commitment through implementation and support from senior management, creating a safe environment for discussing gender issues.
Lubasi Mpasa, Zambia – Cards and Payments Manager at FNB Zambia:
With over 15 years of experience in Telecoms and Banking, Lubasi Mpasa is an expert in driving digital transformation and innovation in the finance sector. He has a proven track record of enhancing financial performance, customer experience, and operational efficiency through technology-driven processes. Lubasi is a lifelong learner, continually staying updated with the latest developments in digital finance and is passionate about taking on new challenges.
Lubasi Mpasa’s capstone project addresses the critical issue of gender socialisation and strategies to combat gender inequality within workplaces. Gender socialisation, he explains, is the process by which individuals acquire societal expectations based on their gender, often shaped by early exposure to gender stereotypes.
Lubasi’s projects calls for raising awareness about unconscious gender bias and creating diverse recruitment teams to ensure fairness in hiring, training, salaries, and promotions. His project emphasises the need for flexible work arrangements, equal learning opportunities, and mentorship relationships.
Furthermore, Lubasi advocates for revising workplace regulations and policies. This includes gender audits, gender-sensitive communication and marketing strategies, gender-neutral job descriptions, and recruitment procedures. His project highlights the significance of assessing candidates’ gender competencies during hiring, embracing gender-responsive procurement, and employing gender indicators for tracking progress.
The proposal underscores the transformative power of gender-sensitive institutional transformation and the need for gender awareness training. Lubasi’s comprehensive action plan outlines a range of initiatives with clear timelines to elevate more women to managerial positions and cultivate an inclusive workplace culture.
Neusa Xavier, Mozambique – Programme Manager at Standard Bank Mozambique:
Neusa Xavier, a Senior Programme Manager at Standard Bank Business Incubator, possesses over a decade of experience in entrepreneurship, incubation, and banking. She is passionate about supporting women in business and promoting inclusive and sustainable growth.
Neusa Xavier’s capstone project addresses a crucial gap in sexual harassment policies in the workplace. She conducted a study to identify cases of sexual harassment, revealing that such incidents were only mentioned in the disciplinary action manual. Neusa saw this as an opportunity to create a hotline for reporting sexual harassment cases anonymously, making it inclusive for all genders.
Her project also includes internal roadshows to raise awareness of the hotline and email address for reporting. Neusa emphasises the importance of continuous reinforcement against sexual harassment through stickers distributed to staff.
The work of these incredible finalists is a testament to their dedication to gender equality. Their capstone projects tackle critical issues, from policy revision to gender-sensitive workplace practices and the eradication of sexual harassment. We look forward to celebrating their achievements and learning from their innovative approaches to promote gender equality. The 2023 Gender Equality Changemaker Awards will undoubtedly be a platform to showcase the incredible work of these inspiring individuals.
📆Mark your calendars for the GEC Awards virtual event on October 30th, 2023 where we invite you to register via #2023Pathwayto17
📲Create your profile on DigiCampus to register, or simply sign-in if you already have an account ➡️ https://campus.digitalfrontiersinstitute.org/student/#/enrol/apply/1237.
To learn more about the GEC programme or enrol in our next cohort starting 1 February 2024, follow this link.