IIG News

Commemorating Women’s Month

Over the past 17 years, the World Economic forum has published the Global Gender Gap Report which looks at the state of gender parity across four dimensions – Economic Participation and Opportunity; Educational Attainment; Health and Survival; and Political Empowerment.

The results of the 2023 report, frighteningly suggests that, at the current rate of progress, it will take 131 years to reach full global gender parity.

Out of 146 countries around the world, the top 10 countries, mainly European, managed to reduce the gap to at least 80%, with Namibia, the only African country – coming in at 8th position with a score of 80.2%.

South Africa, way ahead of its other Sub-Saharan counterparts, managed 20th position overall. However this score belies the poor showing in the areas of Economic Participation and Opportunity and Political Empowerment, where the Country finished in the bottom third of the table of nations.

These rankings are indicative of what we already know – that South African women are poorly represented in the economic and political space.

In the 2021 Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE), which measures the percentage of female-owned businesses and manner in which countries formally support women entrepreneurs, South Africa scored a respectable 54.9. Despite this, research shows that, in South Africa, there is a gender pay gap between men and woman of up to 35%.  This in comparison to a (marginally better) 20% gender pay gap worldwide.

Most recently, the issue of gender parity was thrown into the spotlight when South Africa’s female soccer team, Banyana Banyana (2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations titleholders), decided to boycott its match against Botswana at the start of July.  The boycott, it would seem, stemmed from salary and other payment issues and rapidly spiralled into heated debates across social media and news platforms around, including apparent sexist treatment of the athletes.

It is clear then that while much has been done to address the disparity between the sexes across society too much still needs to be done.  Equal pay for equal work, irrespective of gender, cannot be an issue under debate – it should be a given. Not only must women make a concerted effort to educate and empower themselves to occupy positions of influence and power, it is also up to the men in society to support their efforts.

The challenge must be to change pervasive gender stereotypes in an effort to build a more equitable and fair society for all.

Article written by: Velene Peters – Charter Risk CEO