‘We need more female leaders’

National 2 minutes, 36 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

ORGANISATIONS need to develop talent management strategies to address the gender gap in leadership positions, a certified trainer and entrepreneur said.

Dr Hjh Mona Yati DSLI Hj Mohd Kassim, founder of muBn Learning and Growth Company, said there is still a gap in men and women occupying decision-making positions.

“Women leaders have such potential. The fact is that women comprise half of the workforce. I think that we have done a lot in terms of providing equal opportunities, but male colleagues are still promoted more than women,” she said in an interview.

She said organisations need to develop women as leaders as they are changing the workforce.

Women bring different things into the workplace, but such things are unnoticed more often, said the former Universiti Brunei Darussalam educator.

“For example, through my own research on women entrepreneurs, it was quite telling when the women entrepreneurs tell me that their customers insist on speaking with the male manager or business owner to negotiate.

“They want to see the ‘real’ boss. Another example is that the creative input seems to come more from women. Certainly in my circle of networks, the women tend to have a no-nonsense approach and just ‘do’,” she continued.

Dr Hjh Mona said organisations should practise strategic talent management to ensure the right people have the competencies required for the job, regardless of their gender.

“We need to ensure the advancement for the future of women by giving them competency-based leadership programmes for women. Make it a transparent process,” she said.

The certified trainer said while she was pleased how Brunei is accepting of women in leadership, much more can be done.

“There is a caveat to this, because as an Islamic state, we uphold the Quran, sunnah and hadith, and thus we should allow women to progress as long as this does not contravene the religious laws,” she added.

Dr Hjh Mona said there should be more discussions on the leadership gap between men and women as well as encourage women to become leaders.

She added that society also needs to understand the different barriers facing women in leadership positions and learn about the benefits of having women in the workforce.

Women also have to believe in their own talent.

“I always tell them that they have the biggest cheerleader in me and that I would be cheering them on ‘You can do it’! It is important that they know that there are people who believe in them. I focus on them tapping into their inner entrepreneurial leadership,” she continued.

She also encouraged women to take calculated risks. “Women must understand their responsibility extends to grooming other women leaders. In essence, I tell them to be the change that they want to be,” she said.

She went on to say that women should be the first to support other women. “Women are mothers, sisters, educators, team leaders. Women have a high position in society and in the Quran.

“We need to step up to our role as leaders and serve our community in the best way possible, using our God-given talents,” she added.

The Brunei Times