Make way for fierce females who are doing it for themselves!
Despite women making up just over half of the South African population, they remain relatively under-represented in positions of authority and power in the workplace. Due to old-fashioned stereotypes, gender bias, and under-representation, this continues to be a challenge in offices worldwide. Throughout history, women have fought relentlessly for gender equality and have won many victories, paving the way for all the future femmes of today’s workforce!
Where and how it all started
In recent years we’ve seen the importance many organisations are placing on gender equality at work and women in business and leadership roles. The National Development Plan 2030 (NDP) identified women as the most affected by inequality, poverty, and unemployment, and are working towards eliminating this by 2030 so that vulnerable women have an equal shot to have equal footing with their male counterparts not only in life but at work too.
It’s important to acknowledge the essential and unique qualities women bring to the workplace. If an organisation values a culture of equality and creates a workplace environment that helps everyone advance to higher positions, the more likely its people will achieve, grow, and innovate.
Challenging the status quo
There are many South African female business leaders who are armed with creativity, courage, and just the right amount of candour who have contributed to the incredible transformation in South African workplaces. According to The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Africa now has the highest growth rate in businesses that have been started and are being run by women – which is definitely a step in the right direction.
Just by looking at the successes of these female powerhouses, it’s evident that they’re changing the game in their industries.
Sarah Collins is a high-impact social entrepreneur who has created an empowering solution to affordable and safe cooking practices for women, particularly in rural communities, whilst at the same time creating income generation opportunities for them too.
“A Wonderpreneur is someone who earns a living by selling our products and in doing so is bettering their own lives and those of the community they serve.”
Rapelang Rabana is an entrepreneur and investor who was voted as the Entrepreneur for the World by the World Entrepreneurship Forum in 2014 and also started Rekindle Learning.
“I believe that in 10 years one of the greatest drivers of data usage on the continent will not just be entertainment and social media, but educational, training and learning content, and I want Rekindle Learning to be at the crux of that.”
Women empowering women
It comes as no surprise that women face challenges when moving up the corporate ladder, which is why mentorship is key to developing women as executives and in leadership positions. A mentor is someone that walks hand in hand with you, guides you, encourages you, and picks you up when you need it. Having one gives you an opportunity to reflect on personal core values while improving critical thinking and problem-solving skills through personal development.
Additionally, women who are mentored by other women often feel more supported and are more likely to report being satisfied with their career…and if you can’t find a good role model be one!