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Women in Mobility talk bias & barriers for the industry

Written by: Anazi Zote Piper

At the inaugural “Women in Mobility Breakfast|Let’s Move”, took place at the 5th edition of smarter mobility Africa on the 3rd of October. Women coming from different sectors of the industry, collectively met under the umbrella theme “Women in Mobility Breaking Barriers and Bias”.

This in-person event attracted over 100 women who connected with established professionals where to gain valuable insights, guidance, and support systems to challenge prevailing biases against women.

One of the key speakers was Siveshni Pillay, Project Manager at South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) who spoke about the importance of women finding their voice and understanding challenges in the workplace.

“As women we need our own voice because we are very much part of this industry. We need to showcase what we are worth. This breakfast gives everyone the opportunity to sit down and ask ourselves what are our difficulties? What are our challenges? How can we overcome them? But also what worth do we bring to this sector and the greater community,” says Pillay.

Creating safe spaces

Creating these safe spaces for dialogue and collaboration is crucial. This platform provides a sense of community where women from different walks of life and sectors can exchange experiences, discuss challenges, and celebrate each other’s achievements, all while challenging the status quo.

The event was oversubscribed which spoke to the importance of creating a safe space for women to meet and discuss these integral issues which can affect business or society. Pillay also highlighted the need for women to collaborate and uplift each other in business.

“From this perspective it’s nice to see what other businesses are doing out there. What are other companies doing? How can we collaborate? We are all working in silos and isolation. So, it’s important to know who is out there and what are they doing?  It’s only together where we can go forward and create a better community and economy for the country,” says Pillay.

Dismantling Barriers

Another key issue that was raised in the discussions, at this event, was the role of advocacy. Advocacy in the form of women needing to play an active role in dismantling systemic barriers. The room was filled with snapping fingers when one of the women shared her experience of driving inclusive policy and equal opportunities.

This creates a ripple effect for young women to come and fosters a conducive environment in the workplace. Women need to be their own advocates and be able to assert their abilities confidentially in professional settings because we all deserve a fair chance to sit at the table. Through this Women in Mobility platform, we encourage women to find their inner voice, to recognize their true worth and to enable an environment where they lead the way towards an innovative mobility future.

On the horizon, SANRAL will continue improving road safety and mobility. Recently the organization also launched a Roads Indaba in Prague alongside National Minister of Transport, Ms Lydia Sindisiwe Chikunga, MP.

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