It is generally known that women are underrepresented in executive and board membership roles in private sector organisations. While the work done by organisations such as the 30% Club is commendable, the aspiration of 25% to 30% representation for women as a regulatory requirement can no longer be deemed sufficient for business change and growth, as shown in the McKinsey Global Institute Report (2015) and the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report (2020). It has to be the foremost imperative for every business to ensure women’s positions in power in boardrooms and at executive management level.
During his Women’s Day address on 9 August 2020 President Ramaphosa said: “The emancipation of women is only words on paper unless it is matched by the commitment from all sectors of society”. This statement follows the formation of the Global Leaders of the Generation Equality Actions Coalitions on 1 July 2020 by UN Women that aims “to accelerate gender equality. Leaders from Member States, civil society, women’s rights organizations, international organizations, UN agencies, philanthropic entities, youth-led organizations, and the private sector come together to make a commitment to deliver game-changing results for women and girls”.
This report aims to provide an insight into women’s representation at an executive leadership level among a pilot study of 14 Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed companies. It also seeks to encourage the business community to accelerate the process of achieving gender parity to facilitate much-needed economic growth and societal cohesion.