|South African business women beating global counterparts|
|Emerging Markets Business News|
|Wednesday, 09 March 2011 09:02|
"The fact that South Africa outperforms the global average can be attributed to the emphasis placed by government on gender equality and employment equity. However, while the South African government holds an impressive record with many women in senior positions, the private sector business community still has a long way to go, particularly in the roles that women play," said partner and head of corporate finance at Grant Thornton, Jeanette Hern.
The findings by the accounting and consulting firm were revealed yesterday on International Women's Day. The IBR provides insight into the views and expectations of over 11 000 businesses per year across 39 economies, including the US and Brazil.
The survey also shows that the percentage of Privately Held Businesses (PHBs) in the country that have no women in senior management positions at all has declined from 27 percent in 2009 to 23 percent, in contrast to the global average (which has risen) to 38 percent compared to 35 percent in 2009.
Twenty-one percent of the women in senior management positions are appointed as human resources directors, followed closely by financial positions such as chief financial officer at 20 percent. Sales directors and marketing officers make up nine and eight percent respectively.
Only three percent of South African companies surveyed have a female chief executive officer, which is five percent lower than the eight percent global average.
"Our statistics for the roles that women play in privately held businesses are in line with studies done on companies listed on the JSE. According to a survey done by the Businesswomen's Association, less than five percent of JSE listed companies have women CEOs," explained Hern.
Hern said until businesses break the mindset that women are only suited for HR and finance positions, "we will not be able to properly capture the value that women can add to the workplace."
Eastern Cape companies have the highest proportion of women in senior positions at 33 percent, followed by Gauteng at 28 percent. Cape Town is in third place at 27 percent and Durban at the lowest proportion at 26 percent.
The survey revealed that G7 countries lag behind the global average, with only 16 percent of women holding senior roles. Women have become most successful in increasing their share of senior management roles in Thailand, Hong Kong, Greece, Belgium and Botswana, where the percentage of women in these roles has risen by at least seven percent since 2009.
"We can't afford to be complacent, relying on the fact that we are outperforming our global counterparts. The recent economic crisis has highlighted the need for businesses to be flexible and open to change in order to survive. The different perspective that women can bring is so important in our ever changing and complex world," said Hern. - BuaNews