P ower generation products manufacturer Cummins Africa Middle East’s Distribution business human resources director Lebohang Mosese has played an integral role as the leader of the women's network.
“As the leader of the women's network for Cummins Africa Middle East, I was responsible for executing the Cummins gender diversity, equality and inclusion strategy by engaging with the female population group, as well as the male advocates, in the business.”
She highlights that, from mid-2017, Cummins shifted its focus beyond creating an inclusive work environment for women to bringing data to leadership discussions and being more intentional about how to improve female representation.
This included strategies on recruiting more women, the development of women in-house and promoting more women into leadership positions.
Mosese explains that half of all university graduates are women, yet only five out of ten female graduates get access to work opportunities, compared with eight out of ten males.
More women are entering the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field than before, and although many may gain employment in the engineering industry, they struggle to stay in this male-dominated space.
Therefore, the problem is not getting women into the engineering industry, but with the environment, she adds.
According to the Society of Women Engineers, women in the STEM field report feeling isolated in their jobs, having to work harder to prove themselves and being on guard to curb perceptions and stereotypes. Ultimately, most women leave to work in other industries or take up other roles in the same company.
Mosese points out that this sad reality shows that not enough is being done in the industry to challenge these barriers.
To ensure the empowerment of women at Cummins, its diversity and inclusion council created gender diversity targets across countries, business segments and career levels.
Discussions shifted from taking place only at leadership level to engaging employees at lower levels in the business and at more remote branches, says Mosese. This drives robust conversations, with more ownership at a local level for improving gender representation.