Guest Column

Will the real female heroes please stand up?

2017-08-06 06:06
Femi-preneurs are the true heroes.

Femi-preneurs are the true heroes.

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tess Sulaman

Here we go again, August is upon us and as sure as the day is long, every ragtag in town will be publishing a feature or review of South Africa’s women in leadership.

This is usually a collection of women who have managed to climb the corporate ladder and sit on the boards of the top 40 JSE-listed companies.

More often than not, it is not new and unfamiliar faces that will appear on these “features and surveys”.

The usual suspects will be plastered on our TV screens and respected business publications, and interviewed endlessly on various radio shows.

This is all good and well.

Young women, just as men do, need good role models that they can emulate.

However, just as society has been unsatisfied with the spread and impact of the first and second waves of black economic empowerment (BEE), where the same male figures appear on dozens of boards of directors, we should be equally unhappy with a creeping phenomenon where we seem to be following the same script with women.

There is something wanting about the economic transformation models we have introduced.

Most of them are based on the idea that someone will buy a share of someone else’s company, they get a seat on the board of that company, and, if they are lucky, they might even be appointed the chairperson of the board.

The company in question will of course promptly tick its BEE scorecard and get on with business as usual.

Its job on transformation is done.

 A rare type of woman

While all this is happening and everyone is falling over each other about which female board member to woo to their company, there has been a rare type of woman, doing things quite differently.

I refer here to the femi-preneurs.

I decided to give them a special name because they deserve a special kind of award and recognition.

They swim against the tide, with little to no help from the establishment and still make something of significance.

They did not get start-up capital from mummy and daddy.

They do not know anyone at state-owned small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) funding institutions.

They don’t do it for the fame and they certainly do not do it for the ego.

But they create jobs, employ thousands of people and put food on the tables of many families in South Africa.

Research in the US indicates that female entrepreneurs do not have it easy when canvassing for funding with venture capitalists.

They get grilled twice as hard even though their ideas may be more bankable than their male counterparts’.

Imagine what life must be like for femi-preneurs in societies such as ours where patriarchy is a major league sport?

Yet femi-preneurs keep rising! They are female founders, owners and managers of SMEs.

These in my view are the true heroes that our society, including our media, should be celebrating.

They make better role models because they say to our young women, forget the blesser, you can do it on your own and you will be better off in the long run.

While we are engrossed with the #GuptaLeaks orgy, I hope that we will take some time to reflect on the contribution to our society by these heroes who may or may not have an MBA from a prestigious Ivy League college, but their impact speaks volumes about their determination and ingenuity.

Sulaman is the CEO of email media pioneer Rocketseed South Africa

Read more on:    jse  |  gender equality
X

SHARE:

Inside News24

 
/World
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.