Empowering Women in South Africa: Key to National Growth

Empowering women in South Africa is more than an act of social justice — it is a fundamental building block for national growth and prosperity. Understanding the significance of equipping women with leadership roles, skills development, and economic opportunities is key to unlocking the full potential of our nation.

In this blog, I would like to discuss the imperative of women’s economic empowerment, some barriers that hinder our progress, and the impact of existing programmes to enhance development of women.

Why Women’s Economic Empowerment is Crucial

Empowering women economically is not just about fairness; it’s a strategic move that creates change for families, communities and the broader society. This is not something new, but when I look at the current state of affairs in our political system, I am left with more concerns and questions. Why are women not on the agenda

Don’t you wonder when seeing the news and statistics, and living the realities as a woman in South Africa, why not even one political party put the topic of dealing with gender-based violence and supporting the economic empowerment of women, as a priority? While steps have been taken in some areas, such as the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy implementing the Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality (WEGE) policy, and the Framework and Strategy towards Gender Mainstreaming in the Environmental Sector, these are not enough. It is clear that in order for change to genuinely occur, we have to take responsibility and action from the private and non-profit spaces. So what do we do?

There are two fundamental streams that we need to consider:

  • Access to resources
  • Development of key personal skills

Easier access to resources such as finance and information aids in setting women up for success within corporate environments, entrepreneurial endeavors, and social systems. This issue is not just about availability but also about the perception and self-confidence of women in engaging with financial institutions. Women are more likely to self-exclude from job opportunities and financial opportunities due to self perception and perceived expectations. Making access easier, simpler, and more available is crucial in shifting the balance. We need more funding and development opportunities available, we need to position them with language that is considerate of women, and we need to to challenge the systems and thinking on what is really needed when granting opportunities.

Developing personal skills is equally important, as even when financial opportunities become available, women in general are less confident and less successful than men in presenting themselves, and their ideas/businesses to get these opportunities.

Focus within organisations and outside should be providing more developmental opportunities in which women tackle deep societal issues that create greater barriers for themselves and organisations. These opportunities must be more regular and in-depth, not just a talk when it’s women’s day. At CONTRACT we have worked on various women’s programmes and initiatives over the years with many organisations, and the most successful ones are more deeply entrenched within the organisation. Those that offer varied opportunities to women. Those that offer varied opportunities to women. Those that are run in partnership with intentional culture shifts within the organisation. 

I would like to leave you with a challenge: Consider how you are making an impact for yourself and for the women around you? How are you challenging the system?

In our commitment to creating a humane, inclusive economy at CONTRACT, we have partnered with the Business Women’s Association of South Africa, and are offering an amazing, powerful development programme for women leaders. The programme usually costs R11 400.00, but is being offered for a discounted rate of R9 600.00.

Click the Learn More button below to find more information, and to sign up!