“The year 2020 brought with it some unprecedented changes the world over and as with every industry, we had no choice but to quickly adapt. So, we made the decision that global lockdowns or not, the Gender Mainstreaming Awards experience must never stop,” says Colleen Larsen, Chief Executive of Business Engage and President of the 30% Club East and Southern Africa.
Business Engage is calling for nominations from companies that have developed initiatives and are making strides to accelerate diversity with an emphasis on gender mainstreaming. For company nominations there are various categories; these include Women on Boards Award, Equal Representation & Participation Award, Women Empowerment in the Workplace Award, Investing in Young Women Award and Mainstreaming Gender & Disability Award, to name a few.
There are also two individual categories, the Inclusive Leader Award and the Positive Role Model Award.
“This year the GMAs are seeking to celebrate companies in Africa and we have selected some of the most prominent business leaders who are an excellent representation of what the awards stand for to be judges in the different regions,” comments Larsen.
The sponsors for the 2021 awards, who are themselves making major contributions in their respective industries towards gender mainstreaming are Accenture (naming rights sponsor), ABSA and Barloworld.
Ntombi Mhangwani, Experience Architect & Lead Women’s Forum at Accenture Interactive Africa says: “The impact of COVID-19 will continue to allow societies to be less equal, more divided and poorer if they are left unattended. It is therefore important to recognise – through initiatives such as Gender Mainstreaming Awards – women as equal partners and key actors in the economy. Leaders should also see the pandemic as an opportunity to reset the economy by planning a recovery based on the principle of inclusiveness. At Accenture, we are continuously striving to become a more inclusive and diverse company across all levels.”
“According to The Africa Report, women drive 70% of consumer spend, and the global GDP could rise by 3% if the gender disparity gap can be closed. Women are accelerators and companies that continue to exclude women in decision-making processes, will miss out on business opportunities unlocked by gender-balanced teams,” says Busisiwe Sithole, Head of Transformation, Diversity & Inclusion at Absa Group. “Women leadership cannot continue to be a ‘nice-to-have’ for business, and we are proud to be associated with the 2021 Gender Mainstreaming Awards, recognising companies that have actively worked towards gender diversity at all levels. As a proudly African financial services provider, Absa Group currently impacts the lives of tens of thousands of people on the continent who live, work and run businesses in the diverse communities we serve. One of our top priorities is gender diversity and inclusion, which is brought to life by our Group Women Manifesto - supported by the UN Global Compact - which clearly articulates the strategic direction we are taking to ensure that women, throughout the Absa value chain, thrive and their possibilities are brought to life. If we can achieve this goal of promoting gender parity in Africa, it will be one of our greatest achievements as a key player on the continent we call home.”
Tantaswa Fubu, Group Executive: Human Capital, Barloworld says, “At Barloworld, we believe that as a responsible and responsive corporate, it is our duty and responsibility to ensure that the demographics of our country are reflected in the people of Barloworld, especially at the senior levels. It is for this reason that we have been taking and continue to take deliberate actions to redress the past, ensuring that we have amazing women at senior leadership. We believe that women are not merely to be accommodated but should own the spaces where they choose to ply their skills at. We encourage other corporates to go beyond the regulatory requirements because when we empower women, we fundamentally change our societies for best.”