'Stand up and kick those doors down' - Advice for women in SA's business world

Pontsho Manzi
Pontsho Manzi

Cape Town - SA's public and private sectors can and must do more to help support and develop the careers of young South African women, specifically in media, says Pontsho Manzi.

Manzi is the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of Fabulous Woman magazine, and the head of holding company BoAm Investments, which includes Bonisa Media. 

And part of her advice for women trying to break into a still male-dominated business world is: "stand up and kick those doors down".

"There are a lot of challenges and you are going to get tired. You need to believe in yourself, stand firm and push forward," she said.  

Speaking to Fin24 on the sidelines of the Standard Bank Top Women Conference in Cape Town this week, Manzi said more investment in young SA women was needed.

"Corporate and government entities are not investing a lot in young women’s development. We get a lot of women who we put on our (own) programmes in townships and rural areas and we do not get support for that," she said.

"They will tell you that they have exhausted their budget, that there is not enough money to invest. They can do more, but they aren’t, and that is sad as I believe that women can move South Africa forward."

Manzi said the while SA often had sound policies on the empowerment of women, implementation was lacking. 

"Our policies are brilliant, but implementation is still a problem. Young women are not getting enough opportunities in business, and it’s even worse in media," she said.

She said media was still a male-dominated industry.

"There are a lot of challenges and you are going to get tired. You need to believe in yourself, stand firm and push forward.

"Women are also either taking the supporting role or starting to behave like, and imitate men in the corporate space. You need to be authentic about who you are. Don’t try to look and act like a man. Be confident in your skills and never doubt that your gender makes you less capable than a man in the business world," she said.

"I believe that government needs to put more funding into developing women and their skills, so that we can move South Africa forward."

Manzi said it was important for women to invest time and resources in becoming better mentors to help the next generation of women.

"Mentorship is important, but I don’t think there are enough female mentors in the business space. We shouldn’t only being saying that we are mentors – we should be investing our time and expertise in them."

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