South African Women in Business Senior Management at 28%

10-Apr-2012 | News-Press Release

The latest 2012 annual Grant Thornton International Business Report shows that South African businesswoman in senior management positions are at 28% compared to the global average of 21%.

The advancement of women in South Africa received a huge boost in the inaugural free elections in South Africa in 1994. The previous Nationalist Government only had 2.8% women parliamentarians and in 1994 the number of women in the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (then known as the Senate) totalled 117 or 24.3%. Since then the government has promoted a policy of employment equity based on non-discrimination and equal job opportunity in the workplace that fosters respect for the dignity of all.


The representation of women in government increased further to reach 29.8% of elected public representatives in the 1999 elections. The glass ceiling was broken with the appointment of Gil Marcus to Governor of the Reserve Bank in late 2009. “That August body opened the door to encourage more people to be appointed to top positions only subject to their abilities and not their gender, race, religion or any other prejudices”, says CEO of a leading South African career portal, Neville Berkowitz. South Africa is now ranked 11 out of 153 countries with regards to the number of women parliamentarians, ahead of liberal democratic countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.


Nedbank has got behind the Business Women's Association which was formed in 2000 resulting from a merger of similar smaller organisations. Today the Business Women's Association boasts more than 3500 individual members and 26 corporate members boosting its numbers to nearly 5000 members. "With an economy that has a shortage of some 830 000 skilled workers, we need to ensure everyone has equal opportunity to study, especially in the technical, mathematical and scientific areas. This will help fill the employment vacancies for much needed skilled employees in the economy", says Berkowitz.

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