SA women executive numbers up slightly


1 June 2012

The proportion of women in executive management positions in South Africa has increased marginally, according to a women in leadership census released on Wednesday.


It found women occupied 3.6 percent of CEO positions, 5.5 percent of chairperson posts, 17.1 percent of directorships and 21.4 percent of executive management positions in the country.


The census was conducted by the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa.


“The findings of the census show that we have a long way to go to achieve more equality in the upper levels of the workplace,” the association’s president, Kunyalala Maphisa, said in a statement.


“The advancement of women in South Africa is no longer an option, it is an urgent requirement.”


The figures were based on 329 companies in South Africa.


Other findings pointed to a need for more women to pursue higher levels of education and for a change in societal structures regarding the roles of men and women.


According to the census, there were more white than black women in executive manager positions, but more black women in director positions.


“Most of the decision-making powers sit at executive manager level, so the question then becomes: are the black women in director’s positions just window-dressing?” Maphisa said.


Despite progress already made, there was a major need for a targeted focus on increasing the role and depth of women in leadership positions throughout the economy, Maphisa said.


“When you consider that women make up more than half of the country’s population, there is a huge scope for women to play a much more significant part in leadership and decision-making,” said Maphisa.


In Australia, women account for less than nine percent of executive management and director’s positions, and for 17.7 percent of executive positions in Canada.


In Israel, women account for 30 percent of executive manager positions.