Gender stereotypes surrounding working women in South Africa

In South Africa there’s a 56% chance that the person that would be receiving this email is male. Despite the statistic that there are more women graduating from university in South Africa than men, women only occupy 44% of skilled positions. These figures only get worse when we dig deeper.

According to 2014 data from StatsSA, women comprised 32% of Supreme Court of Appeal judges, 31% of advocates… 24% of heads of state-owned enterprises, and if we take a brief look at the Top 40 JSE-listed companies, only one company had a female CEO. Sadly, not much has changed in the past four years, with women only accounting for 32% of managerial positions according to 2018 data.

Ayanda Seboni, Group Marketing Executive at PPS notes: “As a business based on the idea that ‘success is better, shared’, we believe your professional success should not be defined by your gender, but rather by hard work, determination and your drive to achieve – characteristics not only seen in men. Unfortunately, rather than being praised for their value, professional women are often subjected to sexism and disempowerment in the workplace.”

Truth is, even when women are able to overcome prejudice and land themselves a job they deserve, the patriarchy always comes knocking. Men don’t have to fight for the spaces they occupy, while a woman’s worth is always questioned.

Rob Jameson, Head of Strategy at Promise Group says, “Our latest campaign aims to address these issues by challenging the societal expectations surrounding working women and opening a dialogue around these stereotypes, It’s a bold move by PPS to take such a firm stance in their communication. However, the risk of controversy is far outweighed by the need to address these important societal issues”.

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