Tag Archives: gender equality

South African businesswomen making advances

South African women are making advances in the country’s private sector with respect to taking on senior job opportunities, based on a newly released international survey.

The 2012 Grant Thornton International Business Report, which surveys trends in privately owned businesses in 40 economies worldwide, reported that 28% of senior management positions in South Africa happen to be held by women.

Furthermore this is higher than the worldwide average of 21%.

Grant Thornton’s corporate finance head in Johannesburg, Jeanette Hern, stated that this robust representation is an indication of the country’s advancement in the direction of gender equality.

The outcome in fact shows progress from 27% last year. In spite of this, it falls just short of 2007’s figure of 29%.


Resourceful approaches to accommodate women


Hern pointed out, however, that more is required to be accomplished for that number to improve.

“We require more innovative strategies to ensure a substantial dent in the number of women still ruled out from senior management,” she pointed out.

This consists of finding significantly more innovative approaches to accommodate women in the workplace. Hern revealed that just 39% of women interviewed in South Africa mentioned that their businesses offer working conditions that accommodated flexible hours and alternative working locations.



In addition, the study discovered that women have not been represented across a variety of management roles. Most were either human resource or finance directors.

Mearly 8% of CEOs and 9% of COOs happen to be women but as reported by Hern, it is really an change for the better from 2011, when only 3% of women retained positions at these levels.


Women have advanced, but can progress significantly more


As reported by Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre’s executive director, Lesley Ann Foster, the precise number of women in leadership positions ought to be taken into account when analysing such statistics.

Foster says that taken in context, the figures leave a great deal of room for improvement – but recognized that women have advanced over the past 10 years and they have occupied numerous senior positions, however, not yet to a sufficient degree.

“Women constitute 53% of the population hence they ought to at the very least take up 50% of leadership positions however this is simply not happening,” she stated.



Foster was very clear with regards to the positive aspects that equality between men and women will likely have on society. She asserted that in a society where women are on an equal basis with men progress is quicker, the standard of living is higher and quality of life improves.

“Women provide a considerable amount of expertise and value to life,” she pointed out. “If a woman works, the entire family along with the community benefit. To be on par with men, women should receive decent work, decent pay.”


Private sector must get up to date


Foster described studies carried out by the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (BWASA) in 2010, which suggested that there are millions of women who are either unemployed or generate little or no income.

The BWASA studies have shown that 64% of women earned less than R1 000 per month, 80% earned less than R2 500 and more alarmingly, merely 45% of women were employed. Furthermore, 53% of black women are presently unemployed.

She also mentioned that there are certainly not an adequate amount of women coming from previously disadvantaged backgrounds in leadership positions.




BWASA East London’s chairperson, Lizelle Maurice, agreed with Foster’s comments, proclaiming that while women have progressed enormously in the public domain, with 47% currently being represented in government, they are continue to lag in the private sector.

When talking of methods to make sure women are given a much better opportunity to participate within business, Maurice suggested that Black economic empowerment status also needs to have a gender component.”

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com


SA women in senior positions outperforming global counterparts

Business women in South Africa at present retain 27 percent of of the overall senior management positions, outperforming the worldwide average of 20 percent, the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) has disclosed.

“The undeniable fact that South Africa outperforms the worldwide average could very well be associated with the focus placed by government on gender equality and employment equity. Having said that, even though the South African government maintains an outstanding record with numerous women in senior positions, the private sector business community continues to have a considerable way to go, especially in the functions that women perform,” said partner and head of corporate finance at Grant Thornton, Jeanette Hern.

The studies according to the accounting and consulting firm were disclosed the other day on International Women’s Day. The IBR offers understanding of the opinions along with expectations of more than 11 000 businesses per year spanning 39 economies, along with the US and Brazil.

The market research at the same time reveals that the percentage of Privately Held Businesses (PHBs) in the country which happen to have absolutely no women in senior management positions whatsoever seems to have dropped from 27 percent in 2009 to 23 percent, completely at odds with the worldwide average (which has escalated) to 38 percent in comparison to 35 percent in 2009.

Twenty-one percent of the women in senior management positions are typically employed as human resources directors, followed very closely by financial positions which include chief financial officer at 20 percent. Sales directors and marketing representatives constitute nine and eight percent respectively.

Just three percent of South African organizations interviewed employ a female chief executive officer, which happens to be five percent lower than the eight percent international average.
“Our available data for the functions that women perform in privately held companies are in accordance with research carried out on companies listed on the JSE. As indicated by a study carried out by the Businesswomen’s Association, fewer than five percent of JSE listed companies currently have women CEOs,” explained Hern.

Hern acknowledged that until such time as businesses and organizations break the way of thinking that women are only suited for HR and finance roles, “we will be unable to correctly harness the additional value that women can contribute to the workplace.”

Eastern Cape companies possess the largest percentage of women in senior positions at 33 percent, followed by Gauteng at 28 percent. Cape Town is in third place at 27 percent and then Durban at the lowest proportion at 26 percent.The market research disclosed that G7 nations lag behind the worldwide average, with no more than 16 percent of women having senior functions.

Women have turned out to be for the most part highly effective when it comes to improving their share of senior management roles in Thailand, Hong Kong, Greece, Belgium and Botswana, from where the percentage of women within these functions seems to have considerably increased by a minimum of seven percent since 2009.

“All of us can not afford to be complacent, relying upon the fact that we have been outperforming our international counterparts. Unquestionably the most recent financial meltdown seems to have brought to the forefront the necessity for organizations and businesses to generally be sufficiently flexible and additionally ready to accept change in order to survive. The diverse perspective that women are able to bring is extremely crucial in our ever changing and complex world,” said Hern.

Source: BuaNews, randstad.com, miller-mccune.com, aprildryan.com, thehimalayanbeacon.com, usaid.gov


Education key to developing women

It is only through placing issues underlying the misery of women high on the transformation agenda that government can achieve equal opportunities and progress for all, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Sunday.

“Working in partnership with women in all sectors for social transformation must be intensified…The development of young women must be prioritised, with young women included in progressive structures,” she said at a memorial lecture to commemorate Women’s Day in East London.

The Eastern Cape town will host this year’s main Women’s Day event where thousands are expected to gather at Absa Stadium on Monday to commemorate the day. She said education must be a precondition for development, empowerment and progress adding that without education, women would find it difficult to talk of equal opportunities in a free and democratic society.

Motshekga paid tribute to the women who led the daring protest march against the pass law system on 9 August 1956. “We salute the pioneers that paved the way for us, we remember the gallant heroines and heroes who rose against colonialism, those who protested the pass laws; those who took united action against unjust labour laws,” she said. The women included Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Sophie Williams- De Bruyn and Rahima Moosa.

Motshekga said the promotion of gender equality and strengthening of the gender machinery within government, the legislature and within civil society must also be emphasised.

Motshekga said the women, who under severe conditions of poverty, oppression and exploitation, created homes, educated and developed and produced leaders of yester-year and today.

She said her department will introduce stringent measures to promote the schooling of young girls while strategies to empower them with leadership skills were also in place.

“There is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls. No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, lower infant and maternal mortality, improve nutrition and promote health – including helping to prevent the spread of HIV and Aids”.

Minister for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya said while current data indicated that the gender parity index was in favour of girls at secondary school level, there is a need for government to put additional measures to increase the number of young women enrolled in areas of mathematics, science and technology.

“We cannot deny that we are still faced with major inequities in our society. The burden of poverty and unemployment falls unevenly on women, young people and children. We know for instance that children in female-headed households are more likely to experience poverty and hunger,” she said.

She said government had committed to intensify programmes to improve the social condition of women children and youth in the next five years. These include increasing the number of children accessing child support grants up to the age of 18, pushing the number of beneficiaries of the grant from 22 000 in 1998 to 8 million children in 2008.

Source: BuaNews, puku.co.za, scrapetv.com, columbiamissourian.com