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August is the commemoration of Women’s Month in South Africa. Women’s Month is not only a tribute to the thousands of women who marched on 09 August in 1956 but also a tribute to the pioneers of the women’s movement in this country and those who continue to foster progress in empowering women in the political, public and educational spheres. The government has taken strides to encourage women’s participation in the economy and one of these ways is through BEE. Yet, women are still lagging behind their male counterparts in terms of salary and position.

The Commission for Employment Equity in its 2017-2018 annual report stated that the picture of equality in terms of gender remains particularly discouraging. The highest increase in representation of women is noted at Senior Management level, which is an 18.8% increase. This bleak picture is after 20 years and is far from desirable.

With regards to ’top management by population group, gender and disability ‘, the report shows that the representation of females is approximately half their Economically Active Population (EAP), at top management level. This is only a 22.9% representation, compared to 77.1% of male representation at top management level.

In top management – government and private sector by gender, the report shows that both the private and government sectors employ more males than females at the top management level. It also shows the representation of females to be below their EAP (in both the private and government sectors) at this occupational level.

With 21.6% female representation at top management le­­­vel compared to 78.4% male representation, the private sector is still lagging behind in representation of females at this level.

Throughout the BEE Codes, various criteria appear which advance the interests of Black women. These include:

  • Black women should form between 40% and 50% of the beneficiaries of the relevant Elements of the Scorecard;
  • Measured entities receive points by meeting the targets of black people and black women at Board, Executive Management, Senior Management, Middle Management, Junior Management level, and black employees with disabilities.

Diversity in the workplace is not only important to ensure that the national EAP targets are met, but because there are countless benefits to the organisation, including efficiencies, healthy competition and a competitive advantage:

  • Increased representation of women opens the door to diverse thoughts and better problem-solving. It fosters the interaction of different worldviews and approaches.
  • Women excel at the soft skills needed for business leadership. Women outperform men in 11 of 12 key emotional intelligence competencies. These included emotional self-awareness, empathy, conflict management, adaptability, and teamwork—all essential skills for effective leadership in the workplace. Reference: www.kornferry.com
  • According to more experts, women often make better communicators than men. Zenger Folkman reported in their study. Reference: www.womenofhr.com
  • Fortune 500 companies with higher numbers of women in leadership positions performed better on average in return on sales, return on equity and return on the investment. Reference: www.getsmarter.com

Despite the advantages that companies gain by having a woman in leadership, percentages of women executives remain low.

Transcend can help your business maximise the benefits and opportunities of effectively implementing BEE. Contact us today to find out more.

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