Women in Business

USB student following class via blended learning delivery on her laptop

Blended Learning at USB – all programmes offered via this format from 2021

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Blended Learning at USB – all programmes offered via this format from 2021

USB student following class via blended learning delivery on her laptop
(Source: Artem Podrez)

  • September 21
  • Tags Our news, blended learning, postgraduate studies, teaching and learning

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The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) has developed a multitude of ways for students to keep learning and progressing through these unprecedented times and will also now be offering all its academic programmes via the Blended Learning format from 2021.

What is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is another form of part-time learning that combines e-learning technology and methods with traditional classroom learning practices to create a hybrid way of learning. This means that students can choose to attend the class on campus or via any internet-linked device from anywhere in the world. The online option is delivered synchronously with the on-campus option.

Those who follow the classes via the Blended Learning format can also ask questions and interact with the class. Thus, whether a student are logging in from home just around the corner of the USB campus, or joining from another continent, they will still enjoy the high level of interaction with lecturers while acquiring the crucial business skills needed to lead responsibly in uncertain times.

Blended Learning at USB
USB has been investing in advanced technology and perfecting its methodologies since 2015 to ensure that its Blended Learning experience is cutting edge, personalised and that students get the best education possible – however they decide to learn.

“USB’s lecturers have been trained to deliver a world-class virtual learning experience and currently there are online learning conventions happening to ensure that the Blended Learning format provides an optimal experience for USB students,” says Prof Martin Butler, head of Teaching and Learning at the business school.

“Online classes have been designed by learning experts for delivery via various multimedia platforms. We are using technology to take the teaching and learning to the student,” he says. 

Benefits of Blended Learning
The Blended Learning experience at is immersive, inclusive and highly interactive. Advantages of this format include:

  • Study while you work, which means minimum time away from work.
  • Reduced travel cost because you can log in remotely from anywhere in the world; and
  • Apply learning immediately as students opting for programmes offered in blended learning format can immediately apply their newly acquired skills in their workplace.

Kyle Loff, a current student doing his MBA via blended learning, says the Blended Learning option of study caught his eye immediately, “and the benefits of limited time off from work appealed to me,” he says.

He adds: “Studying part-time takes its toll on you when you have a demanding job, and that’s where time management comes in. The Blended Learning format is convenient for those that want to build new skills and have minimal impact on their working and family life. I believe there’s more balance to it.”

Apply now
It is now more important than ever to keep learning. Find the perfect USB Blended Learning programme for you today.

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SBA participant in front of one of her classic cars that she restores

SBA particpant’s classic car restorations offer keys to tackle rural poverty

USB News

SBA particpant’s classic car restorations offer keys to tackle rural poverty

SBA participant in front of one of her classic cars that she restores

  • September 21
  • Tags Press release, Women in business, Small Business Academy

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Inspired by a TV show on restoring vintage cars and with R2 000 in her pocket to buy a rusted 1947 Pontiac, Nosipho Kholutsoane saw a road out of poverty and an opportunity to develop industry and skills in the remote rural town of Mount Fletcher in the Eastern Cape.

Five years later, Mrs Kholutsoane, 39, employs four people in her business Lereku Trading Classic Cars, has a customer base of vintage car enthusiasts from all over the world, and is currently completing the Small Business Academy (SBA) programme presented by the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB).

She was one of 19 small business owners sponsored by the Joe Gqabi Economic Development Agency (JoGEDA) to participate in the programme aimed at empowering entrepreneurs to grow sustainable businesses in the Eastern Cape’s northernmost district. The mostly rural Joe Gqabi district includes Aliwal North, Barkly East, Burgersdorp, Maclear, Steynsburg and Ugie.

Previously involved in the construction industry, Mrs Kholutsoane now combs the dirt roads and farms of the area in search of disused classic cars dating from the 1930s to the 1970s, buying and restoring them to their former glory and marketing them around the globe via social media.

She has taken on commissions from all over South Africa from owners of old cars in need of restoration, and also hires out her restored vehicles for special events and photo shoots, as well as participating in classic car shows all over the country to promote her business.

“My team and I have a passion and a love for these classic old cars.  Reconstructing them and restoring them to an excellent standard and value for money, brings joy to us and our customers who get to drive a unique vehicle and feel like a king or a queen,” Mrs Kholutsoane said.

The mother of four sees her business as a way to develop skills in the youth of the impoverished, underdeveloped area, and build a future for her schoolgoing children.

Mount Fletcher, with a population of about 11 000, is deep in the rural Eastern Cape – 40km west of the Lesotho border and the nearest urban centre, Mthatha, is 170km away, making it an unlikely spot for a vintage car restoration business.

But the  location has a strategic advantage, says Mrs Kholutsoane, in that Mount Fletcher is on the R56, the shortest route between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, gaining international customers for her business as tourists travelling from Durban to Cape Town stop to take a look at the remarkable sight of classic cars being worked on “in the middle of nowhere”.

Competing against established classic car restorers and custom outfits in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Mossel Bay, she says the SBA programme  has inspired her and equipped her with the skills to “put Mount Fletcher on the map of classic car restorers in South Africa”.

“The Small Business Academy has made a big difference to my business and opened my mind to opportunities to grow the business and market it better. I didn’t understand profit and loss before, but now I can track whether business is growing or going down – and the best part is that I can see that the business IS currently growing.

“I can also see now how many more people I can employ, how I can spread skills to more young people and create job opportunities,” she said.

The SBA programme has also helped her to map and plan for future needs such as a proper workshop under cover and a much-needed chroming machine for restoring bumpers and metalwork.

This was the fourth year of the JoGEDA partnership with the USB Small Business Academy to bring their development programme – specifically designed for historically disadvantaged entrepreneurs in low-income areas – to the district and sponsor participation by selected local entrepreneurs.

JoGEDA chief executive Ayanda Gqoboka said that results for the more than 60 businesses that have now been through the programme had been “outstanding” in enabling entrepreneurs to structure, focus and plan for their businesses.

He said that empowering small businesses to move out of survivalist mode and become sustainable engines of economic growth and employment creation was part of JoGEDA’S strategy to diversify economic activity in the district, unlock the potential for growth in sectors such as agro-processing and manufacturing, and create local employment opportunities that would retain young people in the district.

SBA head Dr Marietjie Theron-Wepener said the programme was developed, and first rolled out in the townships of Cape Town, in response to the high failure rate of small businesses, and she was delighted with the positive results seen in its extension to the Eastern Cape.

“Our vision is to make a difference in the lives and businesses of small business owners in low-income communities, building sustainability and eventually supporting them in such a way that they can play a vital role in alleviating poverty by creating employment,” she said.

 

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gwo 2023

USB to host Gender, Work, and Organization (GWO) Conference in 2023

USB News

USB to host Gender, Work, and Organization (GWO) Conference in 2023

gwo 2023
Business people working in high-end modern office

  • September 14
  • Tags Press release, Women in business, Leadership, diversity, inclusion, gender

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The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) has been selected from a competitive round of applications received from around the globe, to host the Gender, Work and Organization (GWO) Conference in 2023.

The GWO provides an international forum for debate and analysis of contemporary matters affecting gender studies specifically related to the workplace.

With the theme Marginalized gender identities, Prof Anita Bosch, USB Research Chair of Women at Work will be the lead convenor together with Faith Ngunjiri from the Concordia College in the USA; Nasima Carrim from the University of Pretoria; and Ameeta Jaga from the University of Cape Town.

Prof Bosch said hosting the conference in 2023 will be a first for Africa and a major achievement given the significant positioning of the GWO in global business scholarship.

“USB is ideally placed to take the lead as host institution with our expertise in workplace gender studies and offers us the opportunity to showcase the high calibre of international scientific and scholarly pursuits on the African continent.

“We are extremely proud that USB has been recognised as a partner to the GWO which further strengthens the business school and Stellenbosch University’s international scientific standing.”

Attracting around 500 people from around the world, the conference convenes for interdisciplinary scholarly exchange. The conference evolved in recent years from the Gender, Work & Organization Journal, launched in 1994 and the first journal to provide an arena dedicated to debate and analysis of gender relations, the organisation of gender and the gendering of organisations. It is one of the top journals for explicitly feminist work in organisation studies. The recently released 2019 Impact Factor emphasised this with an increase to 3.101 and a position as the number one title in the ‘Women’s Studies’ Web of Science subject category.

Although initially bi-annually, the conference will be hosted annually from 2021. For 2021, University of Kent in the UK will be the host, followed by the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia and the Universidad Santo Tomás, Bogotá, in Colombia in 2022.

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2020 women's report south africa

Could #BlackGirlMagic be the secret recipe for success in SA workplaces?

USB News

Could #BlackGirlMagic be the secret recipe for success in SA workplaces?

2020 women's report south africa

  • August 25
  • Tags Women’s Month, Black Women Excellence, Gender equality

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Black African women who bring their #BlackGirlMagic and ubuntu management style to the South African workplace provide leadership that is more culturally relevant to transformed and diverse organisations and leads to better business performance.

Businesses that understand these women’s impact, and tailor their leadership development and mentorship programmes accordingly, can “capitalise on ubuntu-infused leadership and Black Girl Magic” to build an organisational culture geared to greater employee engagement, productivity, and profitability, says University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) lecturer Dr Phumzile Mmope.

In the 2020 Women’s Report, in association with the South African Board for People Practices (SABPP), released during Women’s Month, she says that while the concept of ubuntu is rooted in African traditional philosophy and #BlackGirlMagic is a modern-day movement stemming from social media, the two are linked by values of solidarity, unity, inclusion and a focus on relationships and collective well-being.

“When deployed by leaders these qualities can create more humane workplaces and engaged workforces,” she said.

In her article #BlackGirlMagic – does it have a place in the workplace? in the 10th anniversary edition of the report, themed The rise of the black woman: Celebrating black women’s excellence, Dr Mmope said that research on women and leadership in the African context was limited and that leadership training and development in South Africa remained mainly Eurocentric.

“But the concept of ubuntu-based management, specifically in the context of its application by black African women through #BlackGirlMagic, provides a foundation for leadership development that is more contextually and culturally relevant in transformed and diverse South African organisations.”

Dr Mmope said while increasing numbers of black African women were rising to leadership positions in business, they often had to adapt their behaviour to “the norms in organisations historically dominated by white male leadership” to assimilate and as a coping strategy against discrimination and stereotyping.

…there is a surge of professional black African women who are positively embracing their authentic self and influencing and reshaping organisational cultures with their practise of ubuntu values…

“More recently, however, there is a surge of professional black African women who are positively embracing their authentic self and influencing and reshaping organisational cultures with their practise of ubuntu values and their embracing of the #BlackGirlMagic movement that celebrates black women’s success and resilience and gives them a collective voice.”

“Black Girl Magic is an affirming phenomenon that resonates deeply and amplifies the traits that professional black women embrace when they practise leadership that is shaped by ubuntu values,” she said.

Professional black women who identify with the #BlackGirlMagic movement share their stories of success and encourage others, and attribute their leadership traits such as resilience, accomplishments and triumph over adversity to their #BlackGirlMagic.

Black Girl Magic could be a powerful force in the South African workplace, because its power lies in uniting and establishing a collective voice among black African women leaders…

“Black Girl Magic could be a powerful force in the South African workplace, because its power lies in uniting and establishing a collective voice among black African women leaders who are all striving for the same thing — to challenge the status quo and create humane workplaces.  In reality, black African women should be supported to reach their full potential through community, while they, simultaneously, protect each other from the world that often views them as ‘others’,” she said.

Studies on black African women leaders found that they employed ubuntu-style leadership and employee engagement, focusing on achieving goals through collaborative problem-solving and collective action, building unity and authentic relationships in the workplace, and seeing leadership positions as more about making a difference in the lives of others, including personal goals¹.

Dr Mmope said that rekindling humanness, or the spirit of ubuntu, in the workplace could “perhaps be considered one of the most significant contributions of professional black African women to organisations to improve the effectiveness of leaders and thus enhance organisational performance”.

The authentic relationships resulting from genuine ubuntu-infused leadership remind leaders that people are human beings, not just human ‘doings’ for the achievement of organisational goals.

“The authentic relationships resulting from genuine ubuntu-infused leadership remind leaders that people are human beings, not just human ‘doings’ for the achievement of organisational goals. People want to experience a sense of community, a sense of belonging,” Dr Mmope said.

She said the value of understanding ubuntu from a practical management and leadership perspective – the ethical aspect and the notions of interconnectedness, being part of a collective, making decisions with a view to both individual and collective well-being – lay in the ability to develop organisations “where people enthusiastically align themselves with organisational goals without feeling the need to sacrifice their own individual goals”.

Similarly, the power of #BlackGirlMagic lies in uniting black women and giving them a collective voice, fostering a spirit of solidarity, and encouraging and inspiring others to persevere despite the odds.

Leaders who practise these principles of ubuntu and Black Girl Magic connect employees, promote team spirit and enhance employees’ involvement in their work.

“Leaders who practise these principles of ubuntu and Black Girl Magic connect employees, promote team spirit and enhance employees’ involvement in their work. Employees experience a sense of meaning, significance, inspiration and pride in their work, and that in turn translates into improved organisational performance,” Dr Mmope said.

Dr Mmope’s recommendations for organisations to capitalise on the power of #BlackGirlMagic include contextualised leadership development and mentorship programmes that foster a welcoming environment for professional black women to apply their ubuntu-driven leadership style and be their authentic selves rather than having to assume behaviours and identities to cope with discrimination.

Training and development opportunities should focus more on using existing studies on ubuntu as a management concept, to ensure that these programmes are culturally and contextually relevant in the South African business environment.

 

About the Women’s Report

The 2020 Women’s Report focuses on the rise of the black woman: Celebrating black women’s excellence. The report is compiled in association with the South African Board for People Practices (SABPP) and sponsored by the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB). The Report is available to download from www.womensreport.africa


¹Ngunjiri, F.W. (2016).  “I am because we are”: Exploring women’s leadership under ubuntu worldview.  Advances in Developing Human Resources, 18(2) 223-242. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301275349_I_Am_Because_We_Are_Exploring_Womens_Leadership_Under_Ubuntu_Worldview

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Transparency on pay could close the gap for women

Transparency on pay could close the gap for women

USB News

Transparency on pay could close the gap for women

(Source: Designed by Freepik)

  • MAY 26
  • Tags Gender Economic Equality, Gender Pay Gap, Pay Equality, Women, Normalise Pay Equality, Mind the Gap, Economic Empowerment, COVID-19, research, Women at Work

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Journal Article

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for progressive economic policies to address deep socio-economic inequalities in South Africa, including transparent pay reporting towards closing the persistent gender pay gap. Currently the gender pay gap sees South African women still earning up to 35% less¹ than men for doing the same work.

If South Africa is to dislodge its stagnant gender pay gap, mandatory pay transparency – making gender differences in pay known to employees, government and the public – can be the means to compel employers to remunerate fairly and equally, according to a new study by the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB).

Despite South Africa’s significant strides in preventing workplace discrimination, the gender pay gap has remained stubbornly stagnant for over two decades…

“Despite South Africa’s significant strides in preventing workplace discrimination, the gender pay gap has remained stubbornly stagnant for over two decades², and is well above the global average pay gap of 20% reported by the ILO³,” said the study’s lead author, Prof Anita Bosch, the USB Research Chair for Women at Work.

In the study published in the South African Journal of Science in March 2020, Bosch and USB Research Fellow Shimon Barit analysed global trends on enforcement of mandatory transparent pay reporting in order to give direction to strengthening South Africa’s mechanisms for achieving gender economic equality.

Their recommendations for greater transparency on pay include more detailed, gender pay-related information captured in existing reporting required from companies on employment and remuneration, mandatory pay audits and requiring pay information to be made available to unions and employees, as well as penalties for non-compliance.

While collective bargaining and the introduction of the national minimum wage have seen the gap narrowing for women in lower-earning jobs, Bosch said that for women in middle and upper pay levels the gap has actually widened and continues to do so.

Enforcing SA legislation and governance codes on equal pay and transparent reporting could strengthen the existing collective bargaining framework to demonstrate that SA sees gender equality as an achievable reality, not an improbable ideology.

The problem is greater in the private sector where pay is market-driven, since public sector pay are largely standardised, she added.

“Enforcing South African legislation and governance codes on equal pay and transparent reporting could strengthen the existing collective bargaining framework and provide the impetus to demonstrate that South Africa sees gender equality as an achievable reality, not an improbable ideology,” Prof Bosch said.

…female-headed households are approximately 40% poorer than those headed by men.

She said the importance of equal pay for equal work was highlighted by the fact that more than a third of South African households are headed by women⁴ and female-headed households are approximately 40% poorer than those headed by men⁵. Almost half of female-headed households support extended family, compared to just over 20% of male-headed households⁶.

“Since women support greater numbers of children and extended family members and are more likely to be employed in lower-paying occupations, their lack of pay equality has arguably a greater negative impact on the socio-economic wellbeing of families and communities.”

“This is all the more reason to amend and enforce policies on transparent pay reporting, with the end goal of closing the gender pay gap,” Prof Bosch said.

The research, analysed the impact of practices in 16 countries where employers are legally obliged to provide transparent reporting on pay and gender, as well as South Africa’s existing equality legislation and the King IV Code on corporate governance.

The study makes recommendations to guide legislators, activists, board members, trade unions and organisational leaders in improving transparent pay reporting.

“The first is to strengthen the pay reports already required from employers by the Employment Equity Act (EEA) by including data on the total remuneration, including performance incentives, paid to men and to women at each level. This would highlight gender pay gaps, enabling accurate comparison at national level and identification of patterns, so that policies can be formulated and targets set to close gaps in specific areas and levels of work,” Prof Bosch said.

She advised that the JSE should “expand its interpretation” of the King IV Code requirement that listed companies remunerate fairly, responsibly and transparently, by including mandatory gender pay reporting in annual reports as part of its listing requirements.

South African legislation doesn’t require employers to share pay reports with employees and trade unions or employee representatives, and Prof Bosch said this should be considered.

The introduction of a right to query another employee’s pay could be difficult to achieve given South Africa’s constitutional right to privacy and privacy laws, but Prof Bosch said this should be pursued, as it would be critical for employees in proving a claim under the equal pay for equal work clause of the EEA.

Pay audits and equal gender pay should form part of collective bargaining…

Mandatory pay audits at the designated employer level (more than 50 employees) would enable analysis of pay differentials, identifying problem areas and developing measures to rectify gaps, she said.

Pay audits and equal gender pay should form part of collective bargaining, Prof Bosch said, recommending that “a soft law stipulating that these topics be discussed during collective bargaining be introduced into the King codes as a matter of good remuneration governance”.

“Diligent monitoring for non-compliance, along with enforcement of penalties, is essential for transparency mechanisms to be effective. It is recommended that a financial penalty be levied for unjustifiable and stagnant gender pay gaps among the employees of the same employer, one that is sufficient to act as a deterrent to non-compliance.

“Penalties should thus promote compliance with gender pay legislation and transparency mechanisms, and ultimately disincentivise discriminatory pay practices,” Prof Bosch said.

ABOUT THE RESEARCH

The full article can be downloaded from the SAJS website: Gender pay transparency mechanisms: Future directions for South Africa

Tables showing comparisons between 16 countries can be downloaded from here 

In addition to the study, USB has partnered with by WDB Investment Holdings (WDBIH) – the women-owned and -operated group focused on advancing the meaningful participation of women in the economy – to produce the The gender pay gap guide for the already converted as a means to aid responsible managers to implement fair pay practices.

About WDB Investment Holding (WDBIH)

WDB Investment Holdings (WDBIH) is women founded, women–led Investment Company and has been operating successfully since 1996. The main purpose of the company is to be a game changer in women advancement and empowerment in South Africa, impacting the African Continent. One of their key objectives is being a catalyst by influencing public opinions and legislation to create an environment that supports opportunities for women advancement.


References

¹Mosomi J. Distributional changes in the gender wage gap in the post-apartheid South African labour market [Internet]. Helsinki: UNU-WIDER; 2019. WIDER Working Paper 2019/17.

²Mosomi J. Distributional changes in the gender wage gap in the post-apartheid South African labour market [Internet]. Helsinki: UNU-WIDER; 2019. WIDER Working Paper 2019/17. Available from: https://www.wider.unu.edu/publication/distributional-changes-gender-wage-gap-post-apartheid-south-african-labour-market

³International Labour Organization. Global Wage Report 2018/19: What lies behind gender pay gaps [Internet]. Geneva: International Labour Organization; 2018 [cited 2019 Jul 6]. Available from: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—dgreports/—dcomm/—publ/documents/publication/wcms_650553.pdf

⁴Statistics South Africa. General Household Survey 2018 [Internet]. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa; 2019. Statistical Release P0318 [cited 2019 Jul 16]. Available from: http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/P0318/P03182018.pdf

⁵Statistics South Africa. Living conditions of households in South Africa: An analysis of household expenditure and income data using the LCS 2014/2015 [Internet]. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa; 2017. Statistical Release P0310 [cited 2019 Jul 16]. Available from: http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/P0310/P03102014.pdf

⁶South African Institute of Race Relations. South Africa’s family fabric. Free Facts. 2018;5:1-5. Available at: https://irr.org.za/reports/freefacts/files/free-ff-2014-september-2018.pdf

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gender wage equality |

SA plunges to 117 out of 148 countries in gender wage equality

USB News

SA plunges to 117 out of 148 countries in gender wage equality

gender wage equality |

  • APR 11
  • Tags Gender, Wages, Inequality, Workplace

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Eradicating the gender pay gap will make a significant contribution to transformation of the South African economy by improving workplace equality and alleviating poverty and financial vulnerability that particularly affects women – and corporate board directors and investors have a key role to play.

“South Africa’s labour market has changed little in the past decade – remaining more favourable to men, who are more likely to be in paid employment than women, regardless of race.”

The 2018 World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Gender Report ranks South Africa’s gender equality 19th out of 149 countries, but on the element of wage equality for similar work the ranking plunges to 117th.

“South Africa’s labour market has changed little in the past decade – remaining more favourable to men, who are more likely to be in paid employment than women, regardless of race. Addressing the pay gap between men and women is an important step towards income justice for South African women,” says Anita Bosch, Associate Professor in Organisational Behaviour and Leadership at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) and holds the Research Chair: Women at Work.

Women’s lower level of education is often cited as a reason for lower pay, but Prof Bosch said South African women were graduating at the same rate, or better than, men in higher-paid fields such as commerce, science, engineering and technology, “which renders the argument that women do not have the right types of qualifications null and void”.

In her latest research on the gender pay gap in South Africa, Prof Bosch says corporate board members and investors can exercise “responsible activism” to address gender-based wage inequality in the companies they lead or invest in.

“Pay equality can be seen as a compliance issue, or it could be regarded as a focus on fairness and the basic right to equality, which is enshrined in the Bill of Rights of the South African Constitution.”

“As directors and shareholders, they have rights and responsibilities that can be used to positively influence organisations to take a stand against pay discrimination. Pay equality can be seen as a compliance issue, or it could be regarded as a focus on fairness and the basic right to equality, which is enshrined in the Bill of Rights of the South African Constitution,” she said.

Prof Bosch said that, firstly, board members and shareholders can exercise their oversight role to ensure that companies are complying with legislation and corporate governance codes on equal pay for equal work and reporting on pay differentials and remuneration policies.

These include the Employment Equity Act (EEA) which enforces the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, and requires employers of more than 50 people to report on income differentials. The King IV Codes on Corporate Governance stipulate that a board of directors must approve a remuneration policy, and a report on its implementation, as part of the annual report, and these must demonstrate that the company “remunerates fairly, responsibly and transparently”.

While application of the King Codes is voluntary, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) Listing Requirements make some provisions mandatory, including the tabling of the remuneration policy and implementation report for a shareholder vote at the annual general meeting.

“Both the Act and the King IV Codes imply that companies do gender pay audits as a basis for adjusting remuneration policies, and they must have an implementation plan for making the necessary changes.”

“Not only do the listing requirements make reporting on remuneration mandatory, but shareholders can vote against the policy or implementation report if they believe there is unfairness. If more than 25% of the shareholders vote against either of these, the board of directors is obliged to commit to corrective action to implement fair remuneration practices.”

“This is the shareholders’ and directors’ opportunity to exercise responsible activism,” Prof Bosch said.

Shareholders can also engage with the board’s social and ethics, and remuneration, sub-committees to “drive the quality, quantity and transparency of gender pay reporting”, she said, pointing out that practice in countries like Australia, the UK and Iceland had shown that requiring greater transparency in reporting ensured that companies focused closely on key equality indicators.

“Research has shown that the gender pay gap does shift when pay equality reporting is required by legislation and must be publicly disclosed, or when concerted efforts are made to close the gap”

“When trade unions place specific emphasis on pay equality, the gender wage gap reduces.  For instance, the standardised manner in which positions in government service are advertised — with wage transparency — has resulted in a low gender pay gap,” Prof Bosch said.

She said directors and investors also had a role to play in lobbying for changes in legislation, reporting and listing requirements, to expand the scope of mandatory reporting and increase the types of indicators used in reporting, to ensure greater transparency.

For example, she said, the Employment Equity Act doesn’t require reporting on pay in the form of share incentives, discretionary bonuses or profit-sharing, which often form part of executive pay packages.

“The absence of reporting requirements for these types of remuneration could negatively influence the gender pay gap and hide important indicators of pay inequality,” she said.

Further areas for lobbying included tax reform that takes into account the financial burden of childcare, and educating trade union representatives to include focus on the gender pay gap in engagements and negotiations with employers.

Prof Bosch also encouraged non-executive directors to scrutinise company policies such as childcare, maternity and parental leave, recruitment and selection, performance management and reward schemes, and educational support for employees, to ensure that these support the family obligations of both men and women, and do not create bias against women due to maternity and childcare.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

SA ranking 117th for wage equality in World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2018, p. 251 http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2018.pdf

Women and children in SA are the most vulnerable to poverty: Stats SA – Poverty trends in South Africa: An examination of absolute poverty between 2006 to 2015 – http://www.statssa.gov.za/?p=10341

The labour market position of SA women hasn’t changed much over the past decade: Stats SA – How do women fare in the South African labour market?  – http://www.statssa.gov.za/?p=11375

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