Illovo Sugar (Malawi) has reiterated its commitment of empowering women for economic development to make good strides in the country.
Managing Director for the company, Lekani Katandula reiterated the commitment in statement issued on Wednesday as the world commemorates International Women’s Day.
According to Katandula, Illovo celebrates women’s achievements and contributions, as well as reinforces its commitment to playing an active role in driving gender equality.
“Although there is a shift within the country with more women taking up leadership positions as well as an improvement in gender policies and practices, the road to achieving equal and fair representation of women in leadership positions remains long.
In recognition of the need to step up our own efforts Illovo Sugar Malawi plc (ISM) launched a special forum called the Illovo Women in Leadership (IWIL) IN October last year to assist with progress towards female equality in leaderships roles within its operations,” reads the statement in part
It further reads: “The forum is tasked to find solutions and interventions around the acceleration of women inclusion into leadership positions within the Organisation. The platform will be the driving force behind empowering ISM’s female leaders, promoting gender equality in the workplace, celebrating success stories, and offering opportunities to create positive change.”
“We have set out ambitious but attainable goals for internal change and will be working towards influencing wider social change where possible. We are hopeful that IWIL will accelerate our progress towards achieving at least 30% women representation in leadership positions by the year 2025 from the current 12%.
Through active mentorship and the women’s forum initiatives, we hope to see a female workforce that is more confident and empowered to take on the next leadership position whilst also empowering their colleagues and subordinates. Additionally, we hope that career talks to girls in secondary school and universities will motivate and empower girls to be change makers and strive to hold leadership positions as they join the corporate world or run their own businesses.”
There is more, ISM has also partnered with Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) by providing funding for the University’s Endowment Fund worth K150 million— which aims to give financial support to disadvantaged but deserving students, with specific target being the Girl Child.
This further supports ISM’s diversity and inclusion strategy for higher women representation within not only its leadership positions but within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
The decision to invest in this MUST Endowment Fund is driven towards facilitating more women in STEM -inclined roles. ISM stands to gain from more young women completing their STEM studies ready to take on possible future opportunities within the Organisation. Therefore, significantly contributing towards ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’.
These initiatives are part of the company’s Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) agenda within the Illovo Sugar Africa Group.
Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc is listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange with 76% of the issued share capital held by the Illovo group and the balance by public and other institutional investors.
The corporate office is based at Limbe with two operations at Nchalo in the south of Malawi and Dwangwa in the mid-central region, producing sugar cane and raw and refined sugar, together with specialty sugars at Nchalo.
Illovo Malawi is the country’s sole sugar producer with more than 70% of total sugar sales sold to domestic consumer and industrial markets, and the balance exported to preferential markets in the EU and the USA, and the surrounding region.