The world is advocating for a gender balanced environment, which may take many years to achieve fully, however, there is a notable change from times past as more women are being recognised in their industry.
Meanwhile, it can feel lonely and intimidating to be the only woman in the boardroom and it can be quite confusing on knowing how to deal with this.
Temitope Iluyemi, the Director, Global Government Relations for Africa at P&G is highly sought after as a key contributor to development solutions in the Africa region. As a result of her work, she sits on the board of directors.
Having often experienced being the only woman in the boardroom, she tells TheGuardian how she uses it to her advantage.
Read her response here
Maybe I wouldn’t use the same word at this stage, but it certainly feels lonely and often challenging to be the only woman in the room. In almost all my careers to date, I’ve often been in male-dominated environments – Sales, Supply Chain and Government Relations.
However, with continued self-development, any feelings of intimidation only lasts as long as I notice it. I start to think: how will I change this narrative? I consider how to turn the challenges of being the only female in the room to an advantage. I change the stories I tell myself about the representation in the room and even am amazed what magic can happen as a result! The only thing that stops us is fear of how others will react to us, or our ideas.
Once we can conquer self and understand the dynamics of the room, everything else looks “effortless”. If I have something to say, I keep standing until I am heard. This is something I learnt from mentors. I encourage everyone to speak to someone credible, who they can bounce these ideas and issues off.
I once had to moderate a panel on an international platform and this gentleman in the audience, rather than focus on the panelist topic, directed his comments at me, essentially putting me on a weighing scale to find out what I knew, what made me qualified to be in my position.
My calm and deliberate response earned an applause from the audience, while most people saw through the ruse as several came to tell me after the panel.