Maggie Feng Now Part of Organisation Aimed at Giving Visibility to Highly Qualified Women
Because Wittenborg sees diversity and inclusion as essential elements of social progress, the school has been involved in multiple initiatives that seek to promote these values. In line with this approach, Wittenborg CEO Maggie Feng recently joined SER Topvrouwen, an organisation that is part of the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) – an advisory body to the Dutch government that discusses and monitors social and economic policies.
Composed of women who occupy leadership positions in large Dutch institutions and corporations, SER Topvrouwen is aimed at giving visibility and helping accelerate the advancement of female talent. Among other contributions, the organisation has created a database of highly qualified women, open to professionals who have relevant work experience in business, public or semi-public organisations, active in management, directorship or executive positions. By accessing the platform, companies and institutions can search for female candidates with the right profiles for their open positions.
According to Feng, the actions implemented by SER Topvrouwen have produced positive results, with highly qualified female talent gaining visibility and companies becoming more diverse when compared to the pre-pandemic period. However, she stresses that there is still much work to be done towards gender equality. “Many organisations are starting to understand the value of diversity and inclusion, but they do not always manage to implement it. There are cases of women who started working in top positions and lost their jobs after one or two years because companies were not ready to push through change; sometimes it goes against their DNA. So, we have taken some steps, but there is still a long way to go until we really change society.”
Working Towards Inclusion
On 22 June, SER Topvrouwen organised a large event at the AFAS Theatre, in Leusden, with the title ‘SER Topvrouwen United 2022: Celebrate Diversity, Embrace Inclusion’. The programme included panels, lectures and other activities featuring prominent women who discussed their experiences in the field of inclusive leadership.
Having attended the event, Wittenborg’s CEO highlights that the prospects for female professionals are very positive, adding that young women need to be aware of their potential. “Students must know that being a woman is no longer seen as a disadvantage in the job market and, in many cases, it can be seen as an advantage. So, it is important to keep in mind that companies and organisations are ready to take female professionals on board, and this means great opportunities for women to develop into leaders if they have the right qualifications, even if they start in junior positions,” says Feng.
She also points out that Wittenborg has taken concrete actions to promote diversity, inclusion and gender equality, as well as to inspire younger generations. “One example is the Tech Women MBA Scholarship, which offers a 5,000-euro discount in tuition fees for female students. This means that we are putting our words into action, which is a great privilege because it sets Wittenborg apart from many organisations. Diversity is an essential part of us, and we are very proud of it.”
by Ulisses Sawczuk