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Challenging perceptions about strong women

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When celebrating Women’s Month, it is easy to fall into thinking that a woman’s strength lies only in her emancipation and empowerment.
Carlita Flaherty, financial manager at Go-seame Open Market in Polokwane, opens the eyes to another dimension of womanhood and its important part in building society; that of mother and caregiver. When listening to her talk about her family, it becomes very clear that nurturing the next generation of leaders is just as important as any political statement or economic revolution.
“I believe that we have a responsibility to shape our children’s values. We have to teach them the basics of human decency while they are young. It is important that children realise the value of money, image and status is actually very low compared to kindness, honesty, fairness and respect,” she explains.
Flaherty has three children of which the eldest is 13 and the youngest three. She takes her role as mother very seriously and up until about a year ago even home schooled her children to ensure they get everything they need from the education system.
The trick, this qualified Chartered Accountant says, is to do everything to the best of your ability. “For more than ten years I spent my time and energy on my family. I did not pursue a career during that time, because I believe in giving 100% to the tasks that you take on. Now that my children are older and enrolled in school, I am free to start working on my profession again.”
Flaherty has been Goseame Open Market’s financial manager for six months now and she is very enthusiastic about the new bookkeeping systems and financial safeguards that she and her colleagues are developing. “It is very hard work to get everything into place, but I have full confidence in every person working with me. I love every aspect of my job,” she says.
While the office around her buzzes with activity, Flaherty is an oasis of calm in the middle of the bustle. She treats every enquiry quickly and efficiently, all the while staying cheerful and friendly.
She is especially happy with the fact that Goseame Open Market is a member of the National Empowerment Fund. “The company does a lot to empower and employ women. In view of Women’s Month, this is something that I feel very proud of. Goseame does not limit its empowerment of women to one month only. This is a long-term commitment that we take very seriously,” she says.
Goseame Open Market is committed to women empowerment. During the past six months, they have appointed or promoted ten women in key positions including Flaherty as financial manager, an IT trainee, an assistant accountant and a human resources trainee officer.
The quiet strength that Flaherty exudes is testament to the power of women to steer South Africa in the right direction.

MARKI FRANKEN
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