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Prestigious awards ringing in the changes for local women in business : female industry leaders are increasingly being recognised for their work through awards like the annual Standard bank Top Women Awards which paves the way for others to follow.

Globally, women account for less than a quarter of management positions and the disparity is even greater when it comes to higher-level management positions, says Yael Geffen, CEO of Lew Geffen, Sotheby’s International Realty and winner of Standard Bank Top Woman in Property 2020.

“This is despite research by leading organisations clearly demonstrating the benefits of optimising the strongest feminine traits in business to effectively complement their male counterparts.

“McKinsey & Company studies found that employee diversity can translate to significantly increased productivity, greater innovation, better products, better decision-making, and higher employee retention and satisfaction.”

This disparity is, however, slowly changing as more and more businesswomen, many in male-dominated fields, are being recognised for their achievements through prestigious accolades like the Standard Bank Top Women Awards which awarded Geffen the title of Top Woman in Property 2020 last week.

“We believe that a significant spotlight needs to be put on women leaders and trailblazers currently making waves in their various and respective sectors,” says Lindy-Lou Alexander, Head of Marketing for Personal and Business Banking at Standard Bank.

“Women are the cornerstone of our society and in many respects are the custodians of our key social and economic development areas.

“As a bank we are passionate about driving gender empowerment as well as highlighting and showcasing the strides and successes that our women have achieved while breaking through the gender barrier.”

“I am so honoured to not only have won this category but also to have been nominated for two categories, including Businesswoman of the Year, by my peers. However, there is still so much to do and it’s only by standing together and supporting one another that women will realise their true potential and their considerable power.

“We are not going to achieve equality overnight, or even in the next few years, but with the backing of organisations like Standard Bank and Top Woman, if women champion one another, there is so much we can achieve.

“And, whilst it’s important for us to acknowledge the need for change, it’s our actions and attitude that really matters. Encourage others to get ahead and be the kind of boss that you would aspire to work alongside.

The Standard Bank Top Women Awards were judged by the crème de la crème of corporate South Africa, including De Beers managing director Mpumi Zikalala and GirlCode founder Zandile Mkwanazi and the winners announced on 2 October.


Banner image: Yael Geffen, CEO of Lew Geffen, Sotheby’s International Realty and winner of Standard Bank Top Woman in Property 2020

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