Treasury hosted its annual Women’s Day event on 8 August to celebrate the progress made towards gender equality in the workplace and the contribution of women in the department. This year was the first time male colleagues were invited to attend the session to further raise awareness for gender equality in the workplace.
Although there is still a long way before the playing field for women and men can be levelled in the workplace, progress must be celebrated and gender equality strategies shared and embedded in the department.
Western Cape Manager at the Commission for Gender Equality, Ms Sixolile Ngcobo, addressed the guests on a number of topics related to gender equality in the workplace. As a gender specialist with extensive technical advisory skills and experience spanding more than fifteen years, Ms Ngcobo spoke about women’s rights, the important role the department and the HOD must play to realise the public service gender strategy. She further explained the background and origin of gender equality, basic human rights, gender frameworks supporting equality and non-discrimination, the South African Constitution, the Employment Equity Act as well as policy framework for women empowerment which all strive to create an equal opportunity environment.
Ms Tina Thiart from HGG who has helped hundreds of new start-up businesses to become established and self-sustaining, especially female owned businesses, shared her insights into entrepreneurship through the topic: “Do men make better entrepreneurs than women?” Quoting extensive research on the topic, Ms Thiart explained that women make excellent entrepreneurs and although a much lower number of women start businesses, female owned start-ups in general have a much higher success rate. “Women tend to start businesses later in life as they have a limited time period to start their family and have children. This coupled with the pressures and risks of starting a business during this important life cycle explains this statistic” said Ms Thiart. She also noted that women are more risk averse, are great strategic planners and social entrepreneurs that use their personal networks to promote their business.
A senior financial planner from Sanlam, Mr Darian de Kock spoke about personal finances and the importance of retirement planning. As an expert on personal finances coupled with his experience in the financial industry, Mr de Kock advised on topics such as investments, policies, life and disability insurance as well as retirement planning. “Financial planning is a holistic approach to ensure that services and products are tailored to the individuals’ financial needs” said Mr de Kock.
Being a child rape survivor, Ms Nandipha Mtshali shared how she was groomed from a young age, molested and raped by the age of thirteen by a family friend and pastor in her community. “I did not know the word to use to explain what happened to me, as a thirteen year old child I did not know that he hurt me. It was only later that I learned the correct word for his actions: rape”. In order to heal after this ordeal, Ms Mtshali started sharing her painful experience with other and realised that it does not only assist with her own recover and healing but also assist others with similar stories of abuse. She encourages survivors to seek help and support and motivates victims to speak up, and understand that they are not alone in their struggle. She is currently writing a book about her life story and hope to reach a wider audience and assist those who are struggling in silence.
Mr Hoosain thanked all the speakers for participating in PT’s women’s day programme and indicated that he found Ms Ngcobo’s presentation on gender equality in the workplace very informative and looked forward to further engagement with her to advise PT’s management on its gender empowerment strategies”.