9 August 2017

South Africa: Companies Must Work Harder At Creating an Environment for Women Leaders to Rise to the Top


Grant Thornton research into women in business shows almost no improvement since 2004. By Christelle Grohmann.

As South Africa celebrates Women's month this August, the importance of gender equality is arguably more prominent on the corporate agenda today than it has ever been, yet this does not seem to have made a meaningful difference in the growth of female leadership in South Africa, or in the world for that matter.

According to Grant Thornton's International Business Report entitled Women in Business: New perspectives on risk and reward, which is based on its annual survey of 5,500 businesses in 36 economies, 28% of senior management roles in South African businesses are held by women in 2017.

While this is an improvement from last year's level of 23%, it is concerning that this number has not improved beyond 29% (IBR Women in Business survey 2007 - 29%) in all the 13 years since we started doing this survey in 2004. This proves that companies still have not succeeded in creating an environment that is conducive to growing - and keeping - a sufficient crop of strong female leaders.

The Women in Business research also shows that this is a global phenomenon, with...

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