Every August, South Africa celebrates the importance of women in all spheres of the community, advocating against gender inequality, and encouraging different sectors of the economy to include more women in the workplace. In closing this year’s Women’s Month, Business Engage hosted the 8th Gender Mainstreaming Awards (GMAs) today to encourage private sector to buy-into achieving more meaningful representation of women in the mainstream of business.
While great strides have been made in the latter, statistics show that there is still work to be done. According to World Bank Group, over 2.7 billion women are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men. Colleen Larsen, Founding CEO at Business Engage and Chair of the 30% Club Southern Africa, believes that more progress will be realised when stories are told to highlight the impact of gender mainstreaming on effective business problem solving, long term growth, and a favourable bottom line.
“Mainstreaming goes beyond integrating a women’s or gender equality component in the corporate workplace. It should be used to tap into the knowledge, interests and experiences of men and women, for optimal organisational performance and for the betterment of the economy,” says Larsen.
In support of this initiative, Accenture partnered with Business Engage for this year’s GMAs affirming that there is high economic potential waiting to be unlocked through gender mainstreaming. Accenture Africa’s Director for Integrated Marketing & Communications and Women’s Forum Lead Ntombi Mhangwani says: “Our research finds that by uplifting 13% of women in the workplace to fill medium rather than low-skill roles, South Africa could add R319 billion to its GDP which could have a much-needed positive impact on the economy particularly post-COVID-19.”
The master of ceremonies Bongani Bingwa directed the proceedings of the virtual event. Eric Whitacre an international composer and conductor was the keynote speaker, while Siki Jo-An, the Ndlovu Youth Choir and The Drum Café provided the entertainment.