Nellie Mwandha, the head of Customer Value Management (CVM) at MultiChoice Uganda (MCU) -- has challenged women to leverage their unique natural skillsets to succeed in their places of work.
At the Pay TV giant MCU, Nellie oversees the function that ensures customer retention.
According to research done by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, out of all creators, directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors and directors of photography, women stood at 31%, in all projects produced for TV in 2018/19.
The representation of women who worked on top-grossing films has stagnated over the two-decade period within which the Center has been conducting studies on female participation in film, Time Magazine reported in 2020.
A 2019 report by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary’s University and Plan International, which documented interviews with over 10,000 girls and young women in 19 countries including Uganda, cited girls and young women as saying they are unable to see their lives reflected on screen due to gender stereotypes.
The respondents added that on TV, they are unable to identify the positive role models who are critical to nurturing confidence and ambition.
However, some wins, for example, the recognition at the London Art House Film Festival in 2019 of ‘Bed of Thorns’, a Ugandan all-female made film directed by Eleanor Nabwiso which won the Africa Focus Award, point to progress.
“My advice to women is, just put your foot in the door. Once you enter, you will like it. Don’t be challenged. Don’t think Pay TV is a male-dominated industry," Nellie said in a recent interview.
According to her, MultiChoice Uganda is a gender-inclusive company with almost as many women as there are men.
She said that the perception that the film and Pay TV industry has male dominance, did not hold her back.
“I’ve not been held back. I believe that women belong at the top because of our soft skills. In this market, to be able to retain customers, you need to have soft skills, because you need to understand that each customer situation is unique and requires an equally unique solution if you are to ensure customer satisfaction and a great brand experience,” Mwandha explained.
“Empathy is a soft skill most women possess and it is a great tool for customer service and experience. This comes with the ability to easily understand and relate with our customer’s needs,” she remarked, adding that, “This enables us to develop solutions that speak to the heart of our customers and provide appropriate services, and because of that, we are able to bring a difference to a male-dominated world.”
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic which necessitated remote working, women had to contend with gender-specific challenges. For them, the distractions were more compared to the men.
Nellie observed that “Since we had to work from home, as a woman, I have had to work with children at home. Trying to balance this with meeting your home demands and at the same time hit your work targets was very difficult”.
Nellie -- whose career has spanned over various telecom companies prior to joining MultiChoice Uganda -- urged women to never stop in the pursuit of their dream careers.
She closed off the interview by highlighting that women just need to find strong support systems and power through the challenges that come with being a woman.
She urged women in Uganda to remember that every challenge is an opportunity for them to grow in their personal and professional lives.