|Date||23 05 2013 07:30|
‘ Diversity is the art of thinking independently together ’
- Malcolm Forbes, Publisher of Forbes magazine
Gender mainstreaming is probably the hottest business topic worldwide today with reports and research being published on an ever increasing scale. Deloitte alone has published three reports in the last two years, noting in the last report that no other business issue is catching worldwide attention so quickly.
It is not only academics and advisory companies that are adding to the debate. In South Africa we have the draft Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill which will require corporate South Africa and other entities to have 50% diversity in all decision making structures, high by international standards. In addition, these corporates will be required to pre-empt all decision making with a gender analysis of the outcome and provide budgets, capacity building and support structures for gender diversity. Many other countries have gone the voluntary route. The UK has recommendations for 25% Women on Boards for the FTSE 100 by 2015. The European Union is looking at 40% for all member states. However, the UK House of Lords has proposed a figure of 30%, this being the accepted minimum percentage that any minority must have in order to successfully influence a majority.
The business case for gender mainstreaming is now well established, except for the issue of whether diversity positively affects the financial bottom line. Opinion is divided in this regard.
What is clear is that in South Africa, we need more dialogue to make, men and women, aware of the real issues surrounding gender mainstreaming.
About our speaker:
COLLEEN LARSEN was involved with the South African Women Entrepreneurs Network (SAWEN), an initiative of the Department of Trade & Industry (dti) to support women owned SMMEs. She was Chairperson of the Board of SAWEN Ltd, a Section 21 company set up by the dti to control the affairs of the network. She was instrumental in the establishment of the SAWEN national strategy, organisation and the constitution. She has also assisted many women entrepreneurs requesting advice regarding their businesses.
In November 2005, she became the founder and CEO Women in Finance now Business Engage Association NPC (www.businessengage.co.za).
Colleen is directly responsible for the provision of products and services which Business Engage offers members and potential members and associates. She has grown the organisation to include many corporate and government agencies.
Business Engage is a member of Business Unity South Africa.
Colleen consults to companies in terms of the WEGE and how this fits into companies in terms of current legislation including BBBEE and Employment Equity and their overall transformation strategies and management of Employment Equity targets.
To encourage private sector to buy-in to achieving more meaningful representation of women in the mainstream of business, Colleen through Business Engage launched the Gender Mainstreaming Awards (www.genderawards.co.za) as part of a bigger programme F-Factor – creating a new gender mindset – enabling private sector to develop the business case for gender mainstreaming.
Colleen is also :-
Colleen has judged a number of business competitions including the Enablis FNB Business Plan Competition, Citigroup Microentrepreneurship Awards and the BWA Achievers Awards.
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