According to research, only 10% of women in South Africa are involved in executive decision-making roles within the finance sector.
The celebration of Women’s Month has placed the position of women at the ExCo level within the finance sector under increased scrutiny. South Africa has the policies and strategies needed to make a success of gender equality (namely BEE and preferential procurement), but implementation has been lacking.
Despite the BEE Act being clear on the need for women to be equal beneficiaries of black economic empowerment, the prevailing opinion among women surveyed is that BEE is mainly a men’s game, with women treated as minor partners, or add-ons.
One of the ways to rectify this is that the Financial Sector Charter, other industry charters, and BEE codes should be reviewed to include gender-specific financing and procurement targets as well as definitions of women-owned businesses. This will help to ensure and monitor equal access for women to business opportunities.
We have reached the point where we need stronger government intervention around the implementation of these policies, because it’s as simple as, if they don’t implement these policies it won’t happen.
The implementation of BEE and preferential procurement policies have become vital because according to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, women hold 32% of global wealth — roughly $72 trillion — and most of the private wealth that changes hands in the coming decades is likely to go to women.
Furthermore, a growing body of research suggests that the presence of women on corporate boards and in executive positions is linked to superior financial performance. That’s why diversity is an issue increasingly in the spotlight in the world of finance and why we need to push for equal female representation within the finance sector.
With all of this in mind, Finclusion aims to be part of the change and part of leading the charge in bringing in more women in the industry. The Group has appointed Matsi Modise as Chairwoman in May of this year to accelerate the implementation of the group’s vision of driving financial inclusion and wellbeing in Africa. The sub-brands such as SmartAdvance also have 30% women in leadership positions. With a strong entrepreneur like Matsi at the helm, Finclusion is setting out to bring about a changed mindset surrounding women in finance and hopes to see a rise in the number of women as business owners and decision-makers within businesses