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.
There have been increasing calls to all sectors to intervene in addressing GBV, its economic cost to the global economy was estimated at $1.5 trillion (UN Women, 2016). The economic cost of GBV to South Africa has been estimated at between R28.4 and R42.4 billion (KPMG, 2014). Still, there has been little evidence of widespread successful GBV interventions (Abrahams, Mathews, Martin Lombard & Jewkes, 2013). It has also become clear, as Morrison and Orlando (2005) argue, that accounting-based measures of GBV were insufficient, suggesting that different perspectives are needed. While many private sector organisations have GBV interventions through corporate philanthropy, they have not taken action to address the issue head on.
The purpose of this commentary is to show that just funding non-government organisations dealing with GBV issues is no longer sufficient. GBV is the responsibility of stakeholders across all sectors and the criticality of the private sector’s participation and intervention, in particular, has to be clearly articulated.
How the Private Sector Can Address the Issue of GBV has been published by African Safety Promotion Journal. It is accessible on the African Journals Online (https://journals.co.za/
Jointly prepared by the National Business Initiative (NBI) and the Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI)
MAY 2020 | Gender Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) has been an important issue in our society for years, and this year, the COVID-19 pandemic created even more focus on this key issue – rendering it “the second pandemic”. Across the world, communities were place under various levels of lockdown and restriction, creating even more isolation for victims of GBVF.
In a time where business is challenged to look beyond profit to how it can support broader society through COVID-19 and beyond, it became important to look at what business is doing with regards to GBVF; particularly when it relates to their work force that was mostly home-based.
From 26 to 29 May 2020, the Shared Value Africa Initiative collaborated with the National Business Initiative on a set of webinar discussions with the private sector, to discuss what is currently being done to support employees – and what more could be done. These virtual roundtable discussions also focused on how business society can collaborate to tackle GBVF.
This along with an online survey the in-depths discussions are covered in this report, which provides key points of the discussions, as well as recommendations from the panel.
To commemorate Women’s Month in South Africa, the Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI) and the #ITSNOTOK movement held discussions among academic representatives from universities across Africa to create awareness on gender inequality and Gender Based Violence (GBV). The forum was co-hosted by the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
The webinar was guided by the question; ‘What can Academia do to support gender equality?’ The discussions pushed for collaboration among universities with stakeholders in the private sector and civil societies since these sectors are increasingly embedding strategies that are aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Further, universities were encouraged to forge gender equality through their teaching and learning mandate by aligning curricula with GBV awareness.
Given the potential significant role academia can play towards transformative sustainability, the following report provides a summary of the intended objectives of the forum, as well as recommendations and observations by all participants to be used as a way forward for the collective to eradicate GBV.
The purpose of this report, titled The Costly Impact of GBV, is to drive accountability within the private sector, and influence GBV-related system change and policymaking, to contribute towards enabling equal opportunities and empowering women in the workplace.
Globally, gender inequality in the workplace has widened due to Covid-19. Now, more than ever, companies need a comprehensive plan to support and advance women in business, with a focus on accountability and results. By achieving gender equality in the workplace, the entire ecosystem benefits. When the most talented employees (regardless of gender) can rise to the top, with no one left behind, the entire company benefits.
In 2014, KPMG South Africa published research titled Too Costly to Ignore – The Economic Impact of Gender-based Violence in South Africa that described the full economic impact of violence against women as well as the impact on their children.
Our research builds on that and seeks to explore and track the awareness, know-ledge, impact, and opinions about GBV and its prevention in the private sector in South Africa.
Despite growing awareness around the issue, reliable and harmonised data on the understanding, prevalence, and real cost of GBV in the private sector is still hard to find and an under-researched subject.
For the leadership and employee findings we used primary data comprising tran-scripts of interviews with 73 company CEOs, executive directors and leadership, as well as written responses to an online survey questionnaire completed by 2 270 employees.
For the section on the impact of GBV on healthcare costs in South Africa, our estimation was based on a literature study accompanied by secondary research data obtained from the World Bank and the WHO. The key findings in this section of the research are not intended to be exhaustive but are instead considered as important take-outs from this phase of the research.
Readers interested in a more comprehensive discussion of this topic are encouraged to read the full report, which will be published when the next phase of our research is completed towards the end of 2022. The intent of that report will be to present a realistic picture of the economic costs of GBV in South Africa.