No amount of champagne, cakes or booze-fuelled parties can mask the reality of the what the ANC has become.
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Day many of the media channels ran clips of children giving their opinion on "What
is a mother". Although the cute factor was sky high with all of them, it
struck me how all the children fell into gender stereotypes.
about the food their mothers cooked for them, the clothes they made or washed
and as one little girl put it: "how she makes everything in the house look
our homes and especially the food we eat are very important and let me make it
clear that I have great admiration for women who are full-time home makers.
I was just
hoping that a few of the children would also refer to the work their mothers do outside of the house (as they undoubtedly would when they talked about their
me of a report by the IMF entitled Gender
diversity in senior positions and firm performance: Evidence from Europe.
generally regarded as very progressive in terms of gender diversity in the workplace. Despite a fairly good representation of women in the labour force, the
same cannot be said for women in senior positions. In 2014 women occupied only
19% of corporate board seats and in the 600 largest companies less than 14% of
the senior executive positions were filled by women. Shockingly, only 4% of CEOs
despite the fact that 16 countries in Europe have some form of legislation
requiring quotas for women of around 30-40% in senior positions. (Norway was
the first to legislate a 40% quota in 2003).
Africa has done slightly better than Europe, but the picture is still not good.
According to the 2017 Women in Business
Report 28% of senior management positions here are filled by women. Yet, only 10% of CEOs are
female and more than a third of companies have no women in senior positions.
(Honestly, guys! You couldn't find a single competent woman?)
is also that the figures seem to be growing very slowly. In 2004 26% of senior
positions were filled by women. So there has been only a 2% increase in the last
13 years. At the level of CEO there has been only a 3% increase since 2015.
arguments for having more women in senior positions can generally be divided
into two categories. There is the moral argument, i.e. "it is the right
thing to do" and/or the "it is the bright thing to do" argument.
going to argue the first point. If anyone still doesn't get why there is a
moral imperative for gender equality on all levels, I doubt that they ever
the second reason, i.e. that it is the bright thing to do, is what this report
from the IMF focusses on. Using a sample of more than 2 million companies
across 34 European countries these researchers proved conclusively that women in senior positions make a significant difference to
profit margins. In fact, they show that "replacing one man by a woman in
senior management or on the corporate board is associated with 8-13 basis
points higher ROAs [return on assets]".
The report also
concludes that this is particularly relevant in industries with many women in
the workforce (where the benefit is about 20 basis points higher ROAs) and also
in knowledge intensive or high tech industries. They argue that the high tech
industries demand a higher level of creativity and critical thinking which
diversity in general may bring. In these industries an additional woman on the
board or in senior management is associated with 30 basis points higher ROAs.
there are numerous factors that make it difficult for women to get into these
positions. Gender stereotypes and prejudice, insufficient maternity provisions
and old boys' networks are a few of the most frequent reasons mentioned.
researchers also argue that with the emphasis on B-BBEE empowerment in South
Africa, gender equality often falls off the agenda. According to the IRR's
South Africa Survey there were half the
number of black female directors than black male directors of JSE listed
companies in 2016 – which seems to validate this argument.
line remains: If you want to improve your profits – get more women into senior
positions. It seems that "leaning in" is not only important for the
advancement of women's rights, but it makes good ol' financial sense.
- Melanie Verwoerd is a former ANC MP and South African Ambassador to Ireland.
Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.
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