South African women making mark in decision-level roles

BoardroomThe number of women in senior management positions in South Africa is higher than the global average, according to a new report from Grant Thornton

The 2012 Grant Thornton International Business Report, which analyses trends in privately-held businesses in 40 of the world’s leading economies, revealed that 28 per cent of senior management positions in South Africa were held by women — higher than the global average of 21 per cent.

“The fact that South Africa’s women are strongly represented in senior management relative to many other parts of the world, says a lot about the progress the country has made in promoting gender equality,” said Jeanette Hern, partner and head of corporate finance at Grant Thornton Johannesburg.

Hern warned, however, that as the figure had changed little in the past five years more innovative solutions were require “in order to make a significant dent in the number of women still excluded from senior management”.

The number of women in senior positions in South Africa has risen 1 per cent since the release of last year’s figure, but remains lower than the 2007 high of 29 per cent.

“[South Africa] has come a long way in promoting gender equality, but the numbers should reflect this,” remarked Hern.

“It should be recognised that women can make important contributions, and not only in the fields of human resources or finance.”

South Africa’s average was higher than that of the BRIC countries, which had an average of 26 per cent women in senior management, and way ahead of the average of the G7 countries, which stood at just 18 per cent.

According to the study, Botswana was the African country with the highest proportion of women in senior management positions, recording a relatively high 39 per cent.


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