South Africa’s labour market has not changed much in the last few years despite a growing need for a more equal workforce. Regardless of positive gender equality ranking—19th out of 149 countries—by the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Report, South Africa still ranks 117 out of 149 countries in gender wage fairness. Additionally, a research conducted by 30% Club Southern Africa acknowledges that there is still much more to be done to get to a balanced workforce.

Against this backdrop, Accenture, Nedbank, MTN and Business Engage have partnered to host the 2nd annual Voices of Change event on 08 August that aims to encourage men and women to play leading roles on gender parity in the workplace. It also aims to inspire organisations, irrespective of their business purpose, to work together towards common goals.

The idea for Voices of Change, a series of events being held in global locations, came from the 2017 One Young World Summit where Accenture and Thomson Reuters identified an opportunity to leverage their networks and experience to create a lasting and impactful change.

According to Ntombi Mhangwani, Integrated Marketing & Communications Director and Women’s Forum Lead for Accenture in Africa, in South Africa, there is a need for collaboration at all levels to foster a more equal future for all. Voices of Change is about underscoring the value of female inclusion and the value of leadership diversity. It opens the floor to men and women responsible for seeking and leading the change. Our commitment to working together as corporates towards achieving these goals can help pave the future,” says Mhangwani.

The Chairperson of Nedbank Women’s Forum, Lerato Maupa, emphasizes that Voices of Change reinforces Nedbank’s strategic intent of developing and advancing women in the workplace. “The event will provide women from all participating partners with an opportunity to learn how leaders are tackling gender equality and what this action means to them. I’m also thrilled to have millennials from partner organisations on board as they’ll share their views on how organisations can create inclusive spaces for growth,” says Maupa.

For MTN, Voices of Change should remind all businesses about the importance of forging ahead with the noble quest of creating an enabling environment that encourages and nurtures the development of women. "We believe that an even greater impact can be made if we work together towards unlocking the potential of female leaders—not only in the ICT sectors but throughout the economic segments,” says Elsie Manamela, Transformation Senior Manager for MTN South Africa.

Despite the steady progress made in the last few years, South Africa still has a long way from achieving gender parity. “I’m pleased about the commitment and progress Accenture, Nedbank, MTN and are making in advancing their women, and have no doubt that their efforts will bring many benefits in the long run,” says Colleen Larsen, Business Engage’s Gender Mainstreaming Awards founder and President of 30% Club Southern Africa. “These organisations are setting an example on how organisations should work together to address pertinent issues affecting the society. Business Engage will help them navigate many hurdles and achieve their goals.”

About Accenture

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions—underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network—Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With 482,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.

About Nedbank

Nedbank Group is one of South Africa’s largest banking groups by assets and deposits, with Nedbank Limited being our principal banking subsidiary. The bank, which is also continuing to expand into Africa with a presence in 39 countries on the continent through our Ecobank alliance, provides a wide range of wholesale and retail banking services and a growing insurance, asset management and wealth management offering through four main business operations, namely Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking, Nedbank Business Banking, Nedbank Retail and Nedbank Wealth. Transformation is at the heart of our mission as a bank premised on using our financial expertise to do good. For more information visit www.nedbank.co.za.

About MTN

Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: “MTN.” As of 31 December 2018, MTN recorded 233 million subscribers across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia. Visit us at www.mtn.com or www.mtn.co.za

About Business Engage

Business Engage Association NPC is a non-profit company established in 2005. It is an exciting and inventive organisation at the forefront of strategic thinking on gender mainstreaming in the private sector. It is a collaborative of corporates working together to create the business case for gender diversity. Business Engage is the custodian of the 30% Club Southern and East Africa. 30% Club is an international group of Chairmen, CEOs, senior executives and senior partners of private sector and state owned organisations that are publicly committed to achieving and sustaining at least 30 percent women on boards within a designated period because they believe it’s good for the overall effectiveness of the boardroom—and, therefore, good for business. Focus is also placed on the pipeline development to create sustainable change.

Media Contact:
Jonathan Mahapa
Accenture
+27 11 208 3947
jonathan.mahapa@accenture.com

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