Veolia's "Yes WEDO Week"
Veolia is committed to moving sustainable development and gender equality forward through WEDO, its internal network featuring 3,200 employees. "Yes WEDO Week" (7 to 11 March 2022) is organising a series of events to address the challenges of gender equality at Veolia in all the countries where the Group does business. In 2020, over 100 initiatives around the world were organised through the Group's 26 local WEDO networks.
Coinciding with International Women’s Day on 8 March, Veolia Services Southern Africa reaffirms its commitment to achieving workplace equality and the week in which Women’s Day falls, will celebrate current female employees to encourage younger generations of women to strive for success in their chosen fields.
Internationally, the company celebrates women in the workplace with a ‘Yes WEDO’ week (7-11 March). Yes WEDO is Veolia’s international gender diversity network, where worldwide offices encourage the gathering of both men and women to promote gender diversity within the Groups’ operations. Diversity in Southern African and worldwide workplaces tackles issues of inequality and strengthens team building and synergy. Veolia Services Southern Africa has therefore constructed a goal to achieve gender equality, aligning with the Group’s campaign and 2030 Sustainable Development Gender Equality goal, as set by the United Nations.
In light of these objectives and this year’s Women’s Day, Veolia Services Southern Africa celebrates and highlights career paths of three inspiring key female employees at various offices within the regions in which it operates:
Raised by a single parent, Duduzile Ncayayana, defied all odds empowering herself to become an independent woman and ensure a better life for her children. She started working as a contract cleaner immediately after high school to seek better opportunities. While contracted to Dolphin Coast Landfill Management (DCLM), she was afforded an opportunity to join the DCLM team on a full-time basis. She was appointed to the position as a Waste Checker and soon promoted to Laboratory Assistant.
"I am grateful that I have broadened my knowledge through the progression of my career and believe that more women should be given the same opportunity, if potential is identified,” she says.
Gender diversity to me means that women are offered the same opportunities that men were exclusively granted. That is something that I have learned at DCLM — no occupation is limited to gender."
Daelene Cloete took initiative at age 18 to launch her career at Veolia Services Southern Africa as Junior Draughtsperson, a half day position, while pursuing her studies in Mechanical Engineering. She was later promoted to Design Database and Document Controller, and then to her current position Mechanical Design Draughtsperson. In this role, she designs water treatment plants using 3D software and then generates manufacturing drawings for construction projects. ‘Gender diversity’ to Cloete means “a fair chance for all”. She believes that one should be limited only by knowledge, skills, experience and suitability for the role or task in question, rather than one’s gender.
“Although the world has come a long way, there is room for improvement. Mindsets need to change — which begins with the younger generation and what we teach them, whether at home or school. Showing the youth that it is the norm for women to occupy male-dominated roles will alter perceptions over time, allowing gender-related stereotypes to deteriorate,” Cloete says.
Cloete’s career was inspired by her late grandmother, who was a Draughtsperson in an unconventional period for a woman to be employed in the engineering field. She believes that the world could use more ‘female power’ in organisations, since women tend to invest in projects emotionally, which helps build strong client relationships, resulting in a maximum effort as an employee to support the best interest of clients, beyond expectations.
Shanaaz Hoosen-Singh is the first acting female manager to lead logistics and manage the DCLM fleet and is responsible for coordinating and planning the transportation of hazardous and non-hazardous waste from all stakeholders. She has been a part of the team for almost a decade.
Gender diversity, in her opinion, is the equal and consistent rate of employment and earnings for employees, regardless of gender.
“DCLM has a vast range of women who play leading roles in the company and are actively paving the path for future generations. Females offer a different perspective and mindset to previously male-dominated positions. They are often seen to be at the forefront of innovation, which is necessary for successful businesses and a higher economic development for South Africa,” she says.