One of the six advocates for the Debswana Gender Diversity and Inclusion (GDI) campaign at the mining giant’s Debswana Corporate Centre, Bicky Mokibe remains steadfast in her belief that there is no weaker sex in the workplace.
Part of her duty as the company’s GDI advocate entails speaking to issues of gender inclusion, which she attests adds tremendous value to the organisation.
“Including all genders in the various operations of Debswana brings about much needed innovation, increases awareness and eventually leads to the growth of the company,” she states.
She personally swears that GDI encompasses recognising and promoting the truth that women have the capacity to perform any task even those regarded only for men, quoting that there are exceptional women who have excelled in male-dominated industries with particular mention of various fields in Engineering, Mining, Computing and even Medicine.
As a woman in the mining sector nominated as a GDI advocate, Mokibe is ready to take the reins and the opportunity to make sure her impact is felt.
“Being nominated is a great honour as it shows that, as a woman in a mining environment, I am recognised and visible,” she notes.
The topic of diversity is close to her heart because it defines that there is no weaker gender in the workplace as her area of work incorporates all genders.
“We allow everyone to make decisions in their own area, provided they are in line with the company policy,” she divulges.
The mere fact of her being a woman in perhaps Botswana’s biggest diamond mining company in scale and quality, Mokibe has met some resistance on her way up the corporate ladder.
Speaking to some of the stereotypes she has had directed towards her, she explains that the stereotypes that are mostly used, stem from some beliefs that people have acquired from past experiences.
She continues that the people then hold on to these preconceived ‘bad’ beliefs that are not anywhere near the reality that she lives every day. “These lead to discrimination and end up belittling one gender over the other,” she reasons.
The Advocate thinks the reason why some people put others down – because of the stereotypes that they have about them – is because they are feeling threatened. She highlights that this is more prominent when the threat is a person of the opposite gender and simply being afraid that if that person comes up with an initiative, they would then get the recognition more than them.
“This just goes to show that we still have a long way to go,” she deduces, recommending ‘equal opportunities for all with freedom to make suggestions that will benefit all concerned parties’ as a possible remedy to the state of affairs.
Her interpretation of the International Women’s Day 2019 theme “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” is that there should not be any discrimination; people should strive to be the change and think big to make a difference no matter how small.
She also holds the notion that as a collective, the society can work together to change the myths that speak against the girl child right from the smallest unit where a girl child is raised-Family, to the community, the society and globally. She states that little things such as allowing little girls to play with cars and assist when there is a breakdown can work towards opening up the child’s mind to hopefully one day be an engineer.
Mokibe insists that the country needs to have more initiatives that are not generally for one gender. “We should start breaking the barrier between boys and girls and start viewing people equally with equal capabilities,” she stresses.