The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina has called for an implementable and measurable action plan to accelerate the transformation in the workplace and economic empowerment of women.
Gina was speaking at a virtual seminar hosted by jointly by the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) and Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) today.
The session focused on management control and the status of women based on the two recently published reports, namely the Commission of Employment Equity Report and the National Status and Trends on Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Report that measure transformation progress against the requirements of the Employment Equity Act and the B-BBEE Act, respectively.
According to the National Status and Trends on B-BBEE report for 2019, overall black ownership is 29% (2018: 25%; 2017, 27%) with black women ownership being 12% (2018: 10%; 2017: 9%), while black women occupy 20.55% of the board positions on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
The CEE report shows that males occupy 75.6% of the top management positions with women accounting only for 24.4%, and the white group dominates overall top management level at 65.6%. White and Indian groups are over-represented at top and senior management when compared to the Economically Active Population.
Gina described the fact that management control and ownership scorecard for women are still far below acceptable levels in terms of companies’ agenda of inclusion as “absurd” and “anomalous”.
“The majority of women still don’t sit in company boards where decisions and votes are made. This is evident even where they have 50% shareholding or above. We must make it our campaign as prominent people to discourage women from accepting “silent control” in companies without decision-making.
“We must fight against corporate patriarchy where women are bullied into inactive silent partners status, only good enough for receiving dividends without board participation,” said Gina.
She added that these areas of concern have been and continue to be a battle cry for many women in the corporate environment and called on participants intensify a campaign to address this anomaly.
“This state of affairs perpetuates the distorted nature of economic ownership in South Africa, in terms of demographics, as women remain the majority, especially African women. We must make a call that “there must be nothing without us.”
There is so much that as women we need to force-feed the system that favours men, especially white male.
Galvanising ourselves as black women in this economy requires a sustained national effort by us as the dtic, B-BBEE Commission and all our Black interest organisations in the economic space such as all of
those attending this webinar today,” said Gina.
She appealed to the particpants to take the struggle for women economic empowerment and transformation forward to ensure that the webinar was not just a talkshop.
“This session must never be allowed to become a grieving platform by women in business as entrepreneurs and those who are professionals in executive positions. But it must respond to those experiences by way of a workable action plan that will be measurable with time frames.
“In a word, I am saying this webinar must be like a plenary commission that develops resolutions and action plan for women in these male-dominated environments,” urged Gina.