The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2024 was, “Inspire Inclusion” and it carries immense significance in our quest for a more equitable and just world. As we acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and contributions of women, it’s crucial to recognise the barriers they face as they strive for inclusion in all spheres of society.

In fact, according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Southern Institute of Government Auditors (SAIGA), Russel Morena this is especially important in institutions like SAIGA where gender equality and diversity are essential for effective governance and the delivery of public services.

Morena explains: “The theme “Inspire Inclusion” speaks to the idea that when we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we create a more cohesive and prosperous society.”

In the context of SAIGA, Morena says this means fostering a work environment that promotes gender diversity and actively works to eliminate barriers that prevent women from fully participating in all levels of the organisation. It also means advocating for policies and practices that support women’s career advancement and provide equal opportunities for leadership and decision-making roles.

Further, Morena says that the theme emphasises the importance of women being empowered to advocate for their own inclusion. “When women feel a sense of belonging and relevance within an organisation like SAIGA, they are more likely to contribute their unique perspectives and talents, leading to better decision-making and improved governance outcomes,” he explains.

“By empowering women to be included and valued, we not only create a more equitable workplace but also a more effective and impactful organisation.”

Additionally, Morena says this is not just a moral imperative, but also a strategic advantage. “By harnessing the diverse perspectives and talents of women, SAIGA can better meet the needs of its members and stakeholders and promote good governance practices in the public sector. As auditors, it is essential for SAIGA to recognise the importance of gender diversity in understanding the complex challenges facing government institutions and in developing effective solutions.”

According to Morena, the theme “Inspire Inclusion” is a call to action for all members of SAIGA to actively work towards creating an environment where women are empowered, valued, and included.

“It’s an opportunity for the institute to demonstrate its commitment to gender equality and to set an example for other organisations in the public sector. By embracing this theme, SAIGA can lead the way in creating a more inclusive and equitable society, where the talents and contributions of women are fully recognised and utilised for the benefit of all,” concludes Morena.