Kalahari Breweries Limited’s St Louis Export Crystal Chats forum was held at Lansmore hotel tackling a bolder topic, ‘Gender in Leadership-who comes out on top?’
The Crystal Charts is a forum where selected nominees present a topic and discuss their presentation with the invited audience.
Aimed at tackling the great divide on men making it in a female dominated space versus those women in typically male-dominated industries the latest theme of the St Louis Top 40 Under 40 campaign was the platform’s most popular as well as its most playful according to a media release.
The release further states that in continued efforts to encourage the youth to strive for excellence, the Crystal Chat recognised and celebrated the men and women who have empowered themselves, as well as each other.
The five speakers, each shared their views about making it in the corporate world as a man or woman , and the merits and challenges their gender poses in the role of “leader.”
The panel of speakers included HIV specialist Dr Ava Avalos, writer and student Siyanda Mohutsiwa, marketing professional Tonderai Tsara of Dialogue Saatchi and Saatchi, and Director of Brand Botswana Ludo Mokotedi and local entrepreneur Kagiso Kwelagobe of 03 beverages.
“The topic of discussion at the fourth Crystal Chats on gender in leadership is one which the St Louis Export brand is proud to be associated with.
We not only encourage both young men and women to strive for success, but also bring to light to the fact that when we work together regardless of gender, we build strong men and women who in turn build a strong Botswana,” said KBL’s Premium Beer Marketing Manager, Ms. Amakura Erbynn.
HIV specialist Dr Avalos said back home in California she was known as Mexican American but in Botswana she was regarded as white.
“Here race and gender issues are more complicated,” she said and added that she believed there was a gender divide in Botswana due to poverty and that it manifested as complicated sex behaviour and higher HIV prevalence in women.
Though he said there were equal opportunities for both sexes in Botswana, young business man Kagiso Kwelagobe of 03 Beverages admitted that more could be done to level the playing field.
Dr Pheko from the audience said there were societal factors that hindered women such as maternal expectations which made the situation ‘a little more complex’.
Tsara of Dialogue Saatchi and Saatchi who said his mother was a rock in his life who always had sound advice thought women could be better leader except the odds were stacked against them.
He went on to draw attention of the audience to the high standards women measure each other with in the form of negative opinion.
“Men don’t get that and that is the biggest impediment,” he said
Director of Brand Botswana, Ludo Mokotedi said it was difficult for people to take a woman seriously.
“Companies I worked for couldn’t see the value I added to business,” she said adding that it was a continuous struggle for women to maintain a balance between family and work.
Though she said that she had missed birthdays and anniversaries, she however said that being a woman helped her appreciate certain things and be more patient