Johannesburg, South Africa – 31 August 2022 – The month of August casts a special spotlight on women in our country; recognising the strength, achievements and impact South African women play in our society. As a African female born and bred in South Africa, and proudly the first woman of colour to be appointed Chief Marketing Officer and board member for the number 5 global brand, the month of August has always symbolised and signalled an opportunity to bring forward the various issues affecting women in our country, one of the immediate ones being inequality in the workplace.
This year’s Women’s Month was themed ‘Women’s Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment: Building Back Better for Women’s Improved Resilience’ that perfectly tied in with the aforementioned issue by not only continuing to pay tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women, but also being a concept that highlighted Generation Equality
A campaign (first introduced at the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995) that links South Africa to global efforts to achieve gender equality by 2030, Generation Equality is the most visionary agenda for the empowerment of women and girls, everywhere. At its core, it demands equal pay, equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work, as well as an end to sexual harassment and all forms of violence against women and girls, among other important issues.
“Women in the Workplace found that for numerous reasons, women are simply less likely than men to advance: they experience an uneven playing field, with their odds of advancement lower at every level; there is a persistent leadership gap in the most senior roles; gender diversity is not widely believed to be a priority; and while employee programs designed to help balance work and family are abundant, participation is low among both sexes due to concerns that using them will negatively affect their careers.”
– Women in the Workplace 2021 Study by McKinsey
Achieving diversity and inclusion (D&I) and as a consequence, equality, remains a big challenge globally with representation and properly recognising women in the workplace being one of the main ones. That’s
exactly why in addition to efforts such as Generation Equality, we, at Samsung, have established Women in Samsung Electronics (WISE), an initiative invested in shaping a better, more inclusive future for all, starting with our workplace.
“The gender gap in organizations has narrowed over the past three decades, giving more effortless labour mobility worldwide. There has also been an increasing global awareness regarding the right to a dignified and respectful workplace irrespective of sexual orientation and ethnicity of the employees, which promotes an open and inclusive workplace. However, labour market disruption due to the COVID-19 has had devastating consequences globally. According to International Labour Organization (ILO), women’s employment declined by 5% globally in 2020 compared with around 4% for men.”
– Samsung: Workforce Diversity and Inclusion in 2021 Study
WISE’s unwavering commitment to women’s equality is evidenced by the action we take to create positive change both within our organisation and in the communities where we live. That action is reflected across the board from our citizenship programs that foster girls’ interest in STEM in addition to WISE. We’re proud to have achieved a 6.5% increase last year in representation of women at senior management level with more work continually being applied to increase the current efforts.
Apart from the obvious intrinsic benefits equal representation of women in the workplace can have, certain (pragmatic) individuals might still pose the question of why there needs to be additional energy, time and to some extent, monetary investment? The question needn’t be brought up as apart from the intangible benefits; additional visible ones include creating a platform for fresh and unique perspectives to be shared, enhanced collaboration, improved staff retention, creating an attractive work environment for prospective employees as well as greater profitability (McKinsey reporting that the most gender-diverse companies are 21% more like to experience above-average profitability).
Although there’s been significant progress in gender equality and diversity, as evident, it’s important to continue the overall efforts established by continually being aware and recognising various organisational gender gaps while at the same time driving the conversation forward coupled with various action plans to address these gaps. The time is indeed now to drive more diversity and inclusion for women in the workplace.
About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
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By Dudu Mokholo, Chief Marketing Officer at Samsung Africa
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