The Consensus of the Deficit Model Can Suck It: My Take-Away From Yesterday’s Panel @ The Good Business Festival

When you put women together around a virtual table to discuss work, life and purpose, there’s never a shortage of great points to be shouted from rooftops

ethical business | gender equality | panel debate
Photo: Marcos Luiz Photograph

A while back, I was invited to exchange my views and works on gender, social entrepreneurship, our Equality Lounge with SAP next Gen, and basically my personal leadership and all female team (at the time, in Impact Hub Joburg) in Ethos Magazine. 

From there, I have had several offline conversations with the UK-based team and was invited to the inaugural gathering, your SXSW-for-purpose-business-and-conversations-on-things-that-are-good-for-the-world kinda gathering, The Good Business Festival. Yesterday, it all went down and I was part of ‘The Good Conversation’ series sharing a panel with Ekaterina Khaletskaya of Impact Hub Moscow and Creative Economist at Islington Mill, Erika Rushton. And, just to frame our awesomeness, we were on the same poster as kick ass activist corporations like Patagonia and Tony’s Chocolonely 🙂

It was an absolute pleasure to be part of the conversation, and well facilitated by Mark Shayler. Here are my key take-aways from the Danish, South African, Russian and UK exchange (which you can watch in full here: “Women Of The World Conversation“):

1.

It is nothing less than severely sobering that the World Economic Forum’s gender gap report from 2020 indicates, following a review of 150 countries, that reaching gender equality will take 100 years! Yup, you read right – and even more staggering, that it will take 250 years to reach equal economic participation for women worldwide. Yikes!

2.

Erika was bold enough to raise a (super valid) point: Do we really want change??? That’s the whole question, and if so, why do we follow a deficit model that ultimately means if you don’t fit the criteria of a project, a program, a loan etc., then there is something wrong with you – Not with the model! The systems we operate in are flawed and exclusive! The patriarchy leaves very little room to be who you are, and by default, rules you out if you do not fit in to this deficit model (Hey, Erika – This is the wording I’ll definitely be using from now on, thank you!)

3.

Ekaterina talked about how she didn’t have any problem attracting women to her programs and projects because she leads an all-female team, and being inclusive is built into whatever they work on. Tadaaa! Women attract other women who work collaboratively to create innovations that accommodate the female ethos, serve communities and are holistic in the way that they operate. I could not agree more, and the way that women seem to operate really resembles hybrid organisations; that is, the social enterprise or impact startup.

I spoke on different things but put an emphasis on our personal responsibilities and capabilities of being the change that we want to see, as leaders – We are the gate keepers for other peoples’ opportunities.

And on that note – Happy Friday, everyone! We can all participate in the change! All you have to do is decide to do it, we all have the opportunity to be champions for equality!

ethical business | gender equality | panel debate
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