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As part of commemorating UN Women’s month in South Africa, Business Engage www.businessengage.co.za invited UN Women to speak on the importance of the Women Empowerment Principles/Equality Means Business (WEP) in relation to achieving acceptable levels of women leadership in decision making positions in the business sector.
Ms Manzini, Regional Programme Director of SARO, was the guest speaker to a 250 audience of women in private sector, academia, business, leadership positions, entreprenuers and academia. She provided the basis of what Gender Equality really means in order to contexualise it within the achievement of WEP within the private sector. In addition, she took a brief moment to explain what Gender is and is not…..
In a country where Private Sector is lagging behind (with only 15% representation of women at the top) compared to the Public Sector which has adopted a 50/50 ratio representation of women in leadership and decision making positions, this platform presented an excellent opportunity to articulate and explain how the WEP can be implemented by the private sector and contribute the women empowerment agenda.
“I now understand the issues at hand in the WEP and how to unpack each of the 7 princicples”, said Carmen Le Grange, Director at Price WaterHouse Corporation. “It will make implementing the WEP within my company much easier and would like to work in collaboration with UN Women in further unpacking these 7 principles and ensure correct reporting on targets being achieved as a signatory of the WEP”.
“I now know the real meaning of Gender” admitted a young female entrepreneur in the retail industry of cosmetic. I had other ideas of what it meant until it was presented in layman’s language by the Guest Speaker, Ms Manzini.
UN Women Director assured the women and men present at the event that the organisation was willing to work with companies that needed guidance and assistance in implementing the WEP in the workplace or simply signing up on the Global Compact.
Ms Colleen Larsen, CEO of Business Engage had this to say "The event last night with UN Women could not have come at a more opportune time as we in South Africa get ready to move forward with our new Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill.
The topic of the 7 women empowerment principles is an integral part of what we need to address in making the Act a success in changing the lives of so many women.
Our vision to ensure gender mainstreaming can only be made possible by collaborating with organisations with similar objectives.
We see UN Women playing a very active role in the new Business Engage initiatives involving various aspects of gender mainstreaming and in the Gender Mainstreaming Awards which we will be launching over the next few weeks.
Going forward, Business Engage would like to see a more formal relationship being formed with UN Women in order to maximise the opportunities presented to both organisations."
Ms Manzini, also used the opportunity to launch the Orange Day for every 25th of the month -to UNiTE to end violence against women and girls. Business Engage agreed to make their next event scheduled for 25th September event for guests to wear Orange and further promote the campaign through their various networks.
As part of engaging with the nation to commemorate Women’s Month, UN Women South Africa has been invited to speak and engage with various stakeholders such as the Post Office Staff and converse on issues of sexual harassment in the workplace; and the Ministry of Communications and Information Systems, which was challenged to do more on communicating issues of Gender Equality as the communication mouth piece of government. The Deputy CEO of the department, Ms Williams, welcome the collaboration and the opportunities it presented for reaching grassroots women which they can reach in all 9 provinces of the country.
|Action Type:||Awareness Raising|