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Olympus Corporation of the Americas (OCA) announced today a new partnership with Bentley University’s Gloria Cordes Larson Center for Women and Business (CWB) to address issues affecting workplace diversity and inclusion (D&I) and to identify actionable solutions. As a member of the CWB Executive Working Group, Olympus will engage with topical experts and practitioners to explore policies, processes, and programs that drive real change.

“Our participation in the CWB reflects Olympus’ continued commitment to developing a more diverse workforce and fostering a climate of inclusion,” said Nacho Abia, President and CEO, Olympus Corporation of the Americas. “Benchmarking with other CWB partner companies will help further these important goals.”

Olympus has aligned its organizational mission, core values, goals, practices and objectives to support growth and development in D&I. Enhancements to the company’s benefits portfolio demonstrate this commitment. The Dave Thomas Foundation named Olympus among the 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces in the U.S. in recognition of Olympus’ adoption credit and improved parental leave benefits. Establishing employee-led affinity groups, called Colleague Affinity Networks (CAN), has allowed employees the time and space they need to foster communities that support a diverse, inclusive workplace. Moreover, through the CANs, employees have been able to inform human resource policies. 

“Research clearly shows that organizations with greater diversity of all kinds are more innovative and more profitable,” said CWB Executive Director Deb Pine. “We are excited to work with Olympus and other forward-looking companies to build a broad understanding of the critical issues limiting progress and the inclusive best practices advancing change.”

“Olympus understands the business imperative for diversity,” said Kelly Pettis, Manager for Diversity and Inclusion at Olympus Corporation of the Americas. “Our new partnership with the CWB demonstrates Olympus’ ongoing commitment to building a more inclusive organization.”

The tools and training provided by the CWB include curated research reports that synthesize current literature, practical research, and solutions, roundtable and panel discussions focused on timely issues, and custom programs addressing the unique D&I goals of the organization. By considering topics such as intersectionality, allyship, the corporate talent pipeline, mentorship/sponsorship, and workplace flex, the partnership will help drive changes that improve diversity and foster a culture of inclusion.

Source: Olympus

Zain Group, a leading digital lifestyle provider in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, has introduced one of the most progressive and innovative human resources policies in the region, providing female employees who become new mothers with four months of paid maternity leave, with a flexible schedule for returning to work.

Picture Source, Teleco & CSP

This restructured leave policy, which falls under the Human Resources Policy Transformation theme, will be rolled out as a group-wide initiative ensuring a unified approach to the program.  

The new policy soon follows the creation of a new senior position within the organization, namely Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, to drive Empowerment initiatives that define, enhance and continue to cultivate an equitable work environment within all Zain operations.   

The introduction of flexible working models has also been designed including six-hour work weeks for mothers with children up to four years old and an optional compressed working week enabling working mothers to work more hours over a compressed week to avail one day off.  

The incoming flexible work program will complement Zain Group’s recruitment, retention and development efforts, as the company shows itself to be an organization in tune with the needs of female employees to balance their careers with their family responsibilities.  

The announcement follows the hosting of the second annual Gender Diversity (WE) conference held in Kuwait in November 2018, where Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO, Bader Al-Kharafi, the brainchild of the WE initiative, first announced the significant regional first regarding the application of flexible hours for working mothers with children up to the age of four years.  

Commenting on the new HR policy, Bader Al-Kharafi said, “As a leading innovative corporate entity in the region, it is incumbent on us to providing more supportive working environments for female employees and forging an inclusive working environment.”  

He continued, “There are very few companies globally that offer a uniform family leave policy and we are proud to be bringing new standards of human resources support and implementation to the region. As an organization we are already well on the path to empowering our female counterparts on numerous levels, and this new maternity leave and flexible hours policy for working mothers will add further momentum to our efforts.”  

Once the new HR policy is fully implemented, Zain Group’s Human Resources team will measure the impact and effect of the policy, through annual engagement surveys, the cost benefit involved such recruitment and retention and the number of returning mothers.  

Zain’s WE program has already scored major successes in raising the profile of women in the organization, with the organization working towards increasing female leadership positions within the organization from 14.5% to 25% by 2020; and ultimately evolving towards a gender diverse workforce.    

Since Zain’s WE initiative official launch in November 2017, it has achieved the following accomplishments:  

  • Female leadership, director and above at Zain Group has grown from 14.5% to 15.5% in one year 
  • Female recruitment into Zain across all operations grew from 21% of total recruitment to 29%
  • The number of women at Chief level increased from 6 to 11, an 83% increase 
  • 33 high potential female leaders have been identified to form the Centered Leaders program 
  • 61 Women Empowerment Ambassadors have been onboarded and tasked with action planning 
  • Zain signed up to the UN Women Empowerment Principles and communicated this to all 6,000 employees 
  • Introduced a Women Empowerment communications app with 300 employees already using it 
  • Women Empowerment embedded into the board of director’s agenda and placed on CEO Scorecards 
  • Two talented women from Zain operations sponsored to attend MBA programs at ESADE, Barcelona 

Bader Al Kharafi concluded by reiterating his conviction in the WE initiative: “I firmly believe that championing gender diversity at Zain will create competitive differentiation, fast-track our strategic ambitions of unlocking the tremendous growth opportunities in the digital arena and at the same time improve the company’s bottom line.”   

Source: Zain

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) wants the government to show firm commitment in enacting the Gender Equality Act in a bid to curb discrimination.

Its executive director, Sumitra Visvanathan, said such law was needed to ensure that women would be protected in every aspect of life.

“We actually have been advocating the act for quite a while with JAG (Joint Action Group for Gender Equality) to draft the act, but we now want to know what are the next steps and when will it happen as we want things to move forward as planned to see the legislation done.

“There are some indications saying that it will be done in 2020, yet there is nothing from the government for this until today,“ she told reporters after the launch of a report on the status of women’s human rights after 24 years of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) in Malaysia here today.

Meanwhile, International Women’s Right Action Watch Asia Pacific director Mary Shanthi Dairam said the government should define clearly what constitutes to discrimination before tabling any bills.

Mary, who is also the WAO executive council member, said current laws do not adequately prohibit gender discrimination in all fields.

“Constitutional guarantees of equality have been interpreted narrowly by the courts to not include the private sector.

“Hence, women in the private sector will continue to suffer in silence due to the delay in enacting the law,“ she said.

She said when women get discriminated at work, they have few or no options for redress at all.

“The act should not only prohibit gender discrimination, but also ensure that women who experience discrimination can easily get justice – without having to go through a lengthy, tiring, and costly process,“ she said.

The report, among others, highlighted critical issues in women’s human rights such as female circumcision, gender inequality in citizenship and discrimination against transgender women.

It was coordinated by WAO and JAG with input from 38 non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Mary said the report was something that the groups hope would help the government to see the gaps in gender equality.

“The report should not be seen as something that is finding fault with the government but rather as something that can help the government to identify where the gaps are, “she said.

Source: The Sun Daily

The U.K. development finance institution CDC is committing £1.6 million to TheBoardroom Africa to assist in doubling the number of women occupying company board seats in Africa by 2028.

The representation of women on company boards on Africa is disproportionately low. In Africa, 14% of company board seats are occupied by women, compared to 15% globally, according to the non-profit Catalyst.

Ghanaian entrepreneur Marcia Ashong founded TheBoardroom, or TBR, in 2016 to foster greater representation of women in African businesses through a network of peer-endorsed female candidates. It then helps connect companies and organizations with its candidates. Some of its recent placements include CDC portfolio organizations like MedAccess and the Africa Food Security Fund.

CDC’s Jen Braswell said TBR’s help to the CDC in finding “outstanding candidates for our portfolio that we would not have otherwise found” was a key reason for the investment. The funding was committed from a technical assistance program and is part of a new CDC gender-focused strategy.

Source: impactalpha.com

By John Chola

ZAMBIA has finally launched the global Vision Zero campaign, a process aimed at building a culture of prevention of occupational accidents that integrates safety, health and wellness.

Minister of Labour and Social Security Joyce Simukoko told hundreds of delegates from around the globe and within Zambia gathered in Livingstone for the official launch that the global Vision Zero campaign was premised on the belief that all occupational accidents and diseases are preventable.

Simukoko said the campaign resonates well with the policies of the Government of Zambia that seek to address occupational safety and health at work places across the country.

In a speech read for her by Ministry of Labour and Social Security Permanent Secretary Barnaby Mulenga on Friday December 14, 2018, Simukoko noted that occupational accidents and diseases, present colossal social and economic burdens to enterprises in the local and global economy.

She added that the attendant impact of injuries, disease and deaths was directly interpreted in appalling human and financial stress on communities and countries across the world.

“My Government has put in place adequate social security systems, for the protection of workers against employment injuries and diseases; this is because life and health can never be exchanged for any other benefits.

“Government, through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security will demonstrate through cooperation and dialogue that it is possible to create safe and healthy workplaces by embracing the Vision Zero campaign in Zambia,” affirmed Simukoko.

The minister further said that the Vision Zero campaign must guarantee the freedom to work in healthy and safe environment for all workers in Zambia.

“We all know that the human and social stress attributed to occupational hazards pose a real challenge for the Zambian as well as global economy with over 2.8 million deaths and 394 million accidents attributed to employment related activities.

“These numbers are way too high and therefore the need for a paradigm shift at every level of organisation from one of fault-finding, to one that focuses on finding solutions to prevent injuries and ill-health cannot be over emphasised,” Simukoko explained.

She said that the launch of Vision Zero campaign in Zambia was a timely intervention by the Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB) in collaboration with the International Social Security Association (ISSA).

She commended the WCFCB and its local and international partners for taking a proactive approach to accident prevention and supporting the Government in taking leadership to ensure that workplaces in Zambia were safe and healthy.

Simukoko stated that the Vision Zero campaign was a positive response to the aspirations of the Government on the need to deliver a vibrant social security system that protects citizens against poverty, and destitution arising from employment-related injuries, diseases and deaths.

“Striving for a world without fatalities or injuries is one of the greatest challenges that confront us all, and to respond to these challenges we need to keep abreast with the latest developments, and constantly review existing legislation and policies on occupational safety and health in Zambia.

“My Government wishes to assure all partners involved that we fully embrace and support the Vision Zero campaign in the country because it confirms the commitment to oversee the implementation of policies that are seeking to transform into an efficient and effective organisation,” the minister said.

She made a clarion call to all stakeholders, especially employers to join the Vision Zero campaign and ensure that Zambia as a country delivered workplaces that were safe and healthy for all workers in the country by 2030.

WCFCB Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Nkumbula praised ISSA and partner organisations for delivering the promise on the launch of the Vision Zero campaign as collectively planned.

She explained that the Vision Zero campaign was a global undertaking launched by the ISSA during its 21st World Congress in September 2017 as a response to the increased number of occupational accidents across the world.

Nkumbula said that, in order to address stakeholder concerns on occupational accidents at workplaces, the ISSA introduced the Vision Zero Campaign as a transformation approach to prevention that embraces three dimensions being safety, health and well-being at all work places.

She said that the Vision Zero Campaign had been aligned to Zambia’s national Vision 2030, adding that it was her organisation’s expectation and hope that the preventable accidents and occupational diseases would be reduced by then.

Some of the local partners that worked closely with the ZCFCB in the launch include National Pension Scheme Authority (Napsa), Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco), Local Authority Superannuation Fund (LASF), Zambia Sugar, Public Service Pensions Fund and National Construction Council (NCC).

Others are Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) Road Development Agency (RDA and Indeni.

Before the launch, Zambia through the WCFCB had been holding stakeholder meetings to build momentum around the country towards the Vision Zero campaign.

Argentina made history and took home the Gold Medal of the South American Women’s Championship 2018 for the first time in 70 years. Argentina broke Brazil’s streak of regional titles that began at the 1986 edition of the South American Women’s Championship. Melisa Gretter was named the MVP of the tournament.

Argentina won the 2018 edition of the South American Women’s Championship after defeating Brazil, 65-64 in an emotional and intense Final. It all came down to the final minutes of the game and with 16 seconds to play, Brazil had a 64-62 lead. Debora Gonzalez tied the score at 64 with 13 seconds left and Brazil could not score, Gretter came away with the ball and was sent to the free-throw line after a foul. The Argentine point guard scored one of the two. Brazil couldn’t score from half-court and the Argentines celebrated the historic win.

Colombia stayed with the Bronze Medal after an 83-78 win over Paraguay. Colombia entered the last ten minutes of the game with a comfortable lead, but the Paraguayans started discounting from the difference. Colombia stayed calm and took the win, with Narlyn Mosquera leading the offensive for the host with 25 points.

Venezuela finished the South American Women’s Championship in 5th place following an 85-60 win over Ecuador.

Chile earned 7th place following an 80-70 win over Peru.

Source: www.fiba.basketball.com

President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi of Egypt on Thursday 30 August, 2018 swore in twenty-one (21) New Provincial Governors, including the First Female Governor from the country’s minority Christian Community; Manal Awad Mikhael.

Manal Mikhael has been appointed governor of the coastal city of Damietta, becoming the first-ever Christian woman to hold such a position, private newspaper al-Masry al-Youm reported.

The 51-year-old woman’s previous post was deputy governor of Giza, home to the world-famous pyramids. Egypt has the largest Christian community in the Middle East, accounting for around 10 per cent of the country’s mostly Muslim population of 95 million. Egypt’s Christians have long complained of persecution and Islamist attacks.

President Al-Sissi, a Muslim, is popular among the country’s Christians, who backed his ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi following Mass Street protests against his divisive rule.

President Al-Sissi has courted the Christian community to an extent unseen for decades, visiting the main Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Cairo on several occasions since he took office in 2014.

In 2016, the parliament, led by President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sissi’s backers, approved a long-awaited law aimed at easing restrictions on building churches.

Source: ABCNews.com