Women in Business

Dr Lee-Anne Steenkamp USB

First woman at USB to obtain sought-after research rating

USB News

First woman at USB to obtain sought-after research rating

Dr Lee-Anne Steenkamp USB

  • November 19
  • Tags Our news, Research, women

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Dr Lee-Ann Steenkamp obtains coveted NRF rating after rigorous process

Dr Lee-Ann Steenkamp, head of the University of Stellenbosch Business School’s (USB) Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning, was the first female academic of the business school to acquire the National Research Foundation (NRF) rating. The NRF is an independent government agency and the rating system is a useful tool for benchmarking the quality of South African researchers against the best in the world.

“It’s really an honour to join the ranks of other rated researchers.”

“I am very proud, but at the same time incredibly humbled, to be the first female academic at USB to receive an NRF rating. It’s really an honour to join the ranks of other rated researchers, especially the precious few (men and women) at the Economic and Management Sciences Faculty of Stellenbosch University,” says Steenkamp.

Prof Mark Smith, USB Director, added: “I am delighted that Dr Steenkamp has obtained this prestigious status. It is a sign of the quality of her research and the impact she has. Furthermore it demonstrates the fruits of the investment the School has made in building our research capacity over recent years. Like all pioneers, Lee-Ann is the first but will not be the last – she has paved the way for other women to follow.”

The process explained
The NRF rating is an onerous and very competitive process to go through, but ultimately it gives recognition to those researchers who constantly produce high-quality research outputs. The application process itself takes about a year, as the university has many internal deadlines to do various quality checks and help guide you. There are different rating categories which are allocated by an independent panel of local and international scholars. This is based on your research output of the previous six years, which includes papers in peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, and masters and doctoral students supervised.

Says Lee-Ann: “At the time I submitted my application, I was 36 years old and was therefore considered young enough to obtain a Y-ranking for promising young researchers under 40 who have held the doctorate or equivalent qualification for less than five years at the time of application.”

She says after the application it takes about another year to get the NRF’s formal feedback. “This process is repeated every six years to maintain or improve one’s ranking. It’s one thing to get the initial ranking, it’s quite another to keep it!”

“This rating means a great deal, as it is a stamp of approval that I’m on the right track with my research.”

The ranking system is independent and objective. “There is no special treatment based on personal demographics (for example, gender) – the panel only evaluates the quality and quantity of your research output. Being a researcher requires a tremendous amount of patience and endurance, which are not personality traits that come naturally to me. So this rating means a great deal, as it is a stamp of approval that I’m on the right track with my research and that many years of hard work is starting to bear fruit,” she says.

Staying motivated
Steenkamp says the support she received from the Early Career Academic Development (ECAD) programme of Stellenbosch University was a real game-changer from which she benefitted enormously.

“Having this accountability partner keeps me motivated and focused, and inspires me to reach even higher.”

“When you join the programme as a mentee, you are partnered with an experienced academic who mentors you on your journey to become an established scholar. I’m very grateful that Prof Stan du Plessis agreed to be my mentor (although I have no idea how he manages to fit our regular meetings into his schedule).

“It makes a big difference to have someone to bounce ideas with and who understands the rigours and demands of research. Having this accountability partner keeps me motivated and focused, and inspires me to reach even higher,” she says.

Prof Leslie Swartz, academic coordinator of the ECAD programme, expressed the programme’s delight and admiration at Steenkamp’s achievement.  According to Swartz, the aim of the ECAD programme is to support the university’s new academics as best they can, and, as Swartz put it, “it is extremely gratifying for us when our academics do well.  The achievement is all theirs, and we are lucky to play a part in supporting them.  We could not do this without the work of the mentees themselves, like Dr Steenkamp, or without the mentors, like Prof du Plessis in this case”.

Her research focus
Steenkamp’s PhD was in climate change law and her research focus for the next five years will be on carbon pricing mechanisms and ‘green taxes’ (environmental taxes). “South Africa enacted the Carbon Tax Act 15 of 2019 last year, so there are many opportunities for conducting comparative analyses with other countries who’ve either implemented a carbon pricing mechanism or adopted an emission trading system.

“From a business school perspective, it’s quite interesting to supervise MBA students who study the impact of the carbon tax on their own companies or sectors and develop strategies to mitigate for this,” she says.

“My goal is to work towards the next NRF rating opportunity in six years. This requires sustained and cohesive output as you need to demonstrate that you have built a focused body of work. I’m excited about building research partnerships and have embarked on numerous collaborative research projects with colleagues and graduates from the business school,” she says.

Dealing with criticism
Steenkamp says criticism is an integral part of the peer-review publication system. “Over time you learn to separate constructive from negative criticism. The former is a helpful and necessary component for developing one’s research ideas and enhancing the quality of the final product (be it a thesis, conference presentation or article in a journal). I serve as a peer reviewer for several academic journals and appreciate the time and effort that goes into providing this sort of feedback,” she says.

“I still haven’t developed a thick enough skin for the negative criticism, though. But I’m getting there. I’ve recently read an excellent book written by Cal Newport, wherein the key message (and title) is to be “so good they can’t ignore you”. I believe this is the best way of dealing with setbacks and criticism.

“I think every researcher has a curious mindset and it’s the endless possibilities of learning and discovery that keeps you going.”

“I think every researcher has a curious mindset and it’s the endless possibilities of learning and discovery that keeps you going. Ultimately, it’s knowing that your research is making a positive impact and that you are playing a small part in advancing knowledge in service of society,” she concludes.

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USB student following class via blended learning delivery on her laptop

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

USB News

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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Prof Anita Bosch, USB Research Chair for Women at Work, recognised with special award by SABPP

USB News

Prof Anita Bosch, USB Research Chair for Women at Work, recognised with special award by SABPP

Prof Anita Bosch - Associate Professor speaking

  • Dec 12
  • Tags Leadership; Human Resources; Women; Gender; Equality

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Prof Anita Bosch, Associate Professor in Organisational Behaviour & Leadership and Research Chair for Women at Work, recently received a special award from the South African Board for People Practices (SABPP), for her outstanding contribution to the Human Resources (HR) profession in South Africa.

Mr Xolani Mawande, CEO of the The South African Board for People Practices (SABPP), recently awarded Prof Bosch for her impactful efforts towards the HR. As the Research Chair for Women at Work, her research was influential in ensuring the success of the SABPP’s HR Professional Practice Standard on Employment Equity and Diversity in practice.

Prof Bosch is a role model for young women embarking on HR and business careers; thereby contributing to the development of talent pipelines in both the private and public sectors,” says Mr Mawande.

Serving as a dynamic leader in the HR profession over many years, including the role of an SABPP board member, Prof Bosch’s vision to form the HR Research Initiative (HRRI) resulted in a stream of SABPP publications, and eventually culminated in the establishment of a full-time research and innovation office at SABPP.

“I’m honoured to have been recognised by the professional board for efforts to contribute to the people profession,” says Prof Bosch in response to receiving the award.

None of the work would have been possible without the encouragement and support of others. My thoughts turn to my younger-self and, I now know that, not even a lack of resources can stop hard work and dedication.

Prof Bosch has published numerous public reports, articles, and book chapters on diversity and women’s issues, and has now compiled nine consecutive annual Women in the Workplace reports for the HR and business community. Her work has inspired SABPP to launch employment equity and diversity awards, including an annual award on women empowerment at work.

“Learning from her example, SABPP is proud of our rich history of transforming the HR profession to such an extent that the majority of HR professionals are women today,” says Mr Mawande. “We thank Prof Bosch for her pioneering and leadership work in the area of diversity management, employment equity and human capital management.”

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USB Business Breakfast 2019

Debunking myths about board gender diversity in SA

USB News

Debunking myths about board gender diversity in SA

USB Business Breakfast 2019

  • Oct 11
  • Tags Business Breakfast, Gender Diversity, gender Equality, Women on Boards, Workplace

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“It’s a myth that there is not a sufficient pool of women available to serve on South African boards,” said Prof Anita Bosch, Research Chair: Women at Work at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB).

“As of July this year, South Africa has over 17 000 female SAICA (South African Institute for Chartered Accountants) affiliated chartered accountants. In 2010 there were 24 000 females graduating with Masters Degrees, and 6 100 with PhDs. These figures have increased in 2017 to roughly 31 000 women with Masters Degrees and 10 000 with PhDs.

“It’s a myth that there is not a sufficient pool of women available to serve on South African boards.”

She was speaking at a business breakfast event hosted annually by the USB, which takes place in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Bosch is an Associate Professor in Organisational Behaviour and Leadership and also editor of the SABPP (South African Board for People Practices) Women’s Report, which is released in August every year.

“Over the period of 2010 to 2017 there has been consistently more women candidate attorneys registered than men. There are also a vast number of associate professors and professors. So it is not about not enough women available to serve on boards.”

She said another myth is that all women support targets. “That is not so. A lot of women want to resist this notion because they don’t want to be seen as a token appointment,” she said.

“The next myth is that when targets are set, they are met,” said Bosch. “Though quotas have worked in many parts of the world, we have a system and target setting in South Africa but it is not met. It is unconstitutional in South Africa to set quotas. You can set numerical targets and with that there is a level of flexibility involved with the targets.

“Another myth is that if we leave things as they are, there will be a natural increase in the numbers of women on boards.”

“Another myth is that if we leave things as they are, there will be a natural increase in the numbers of women on boards. The number of women on boards in South Africa on JSE-listed companies has been driven by legislation, of which the broad-based black economic empowerment (BEE) has been one of the biggest drivers,” she said.

Bosch added that there is no legislation in South Africa directly obliging companies to include women on their boards of directors.  “However, there are several indirect legal measures to incentivise gender diversity on boards. The King IV Report for Corporate Governance, which is applicable on a voluntary basis, works on this idea of ‘apply and explain’.

“The Report recommends that the governing body should promote diversity for better decision-making and better governance. That includes gender diversity and it should set targets for race and gender representation,” she explained.

“Our government has various commitments. We as a country have signed various international labour organisation conventions. We have also signed several protocols and this is very important because we are now held accountable against these.

“Yet, we are not meeting the requirements. Why? Because we work in the networks that we know. We don’t deliberately broaden our network and meet other people to collaborate with.

“We also had the failed Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill, which to date has not had traction again. When you look at annual reports of companies, gender equality on boards is not really a primary concern. It is not one of the top issues that we are looking at,” she said.

‘Seeking diverse voices’

Zyda Rylands, CEO of Woolworths SA, also spoke at the event and said the journey to the top comes with many challenges. “The journey to the top is not always up, up, up. It’s sometimes up and then sideways, sideways, up. But sideways is also good. As long as you are learning and growing,” she said.

“The journey to the top is not always up, up, up. It’s sometimes up and then sideways, sideways, up. But sideways is also good.”

She added that she liked having diverse voices on her team. “I like listening and I like conflicting voices. Listen differently; listen to what is not being said. How do we (women and men) create magic together?”

‘Business needs a change in consciousness’

“The United Nations reported in June this year that no country is on track to achieve gender equality by 2030,” said Faith Khanyile, CEO of WDB Investment Holdings (WDBIH), a company with the aim of driving women’s economic empowerment in South Africa. She was a speaker at the Johannesburg event.

“Women hold just 12,7% of board directorship in Africa – nearly 5%  lower than the global averages, and approximately a third of all African corporates have no female directors,” she said.

“We are making strides across all sectors of society, but it is not enough.”

She added that gender diversity makes for a stronger, more robust board that is capable of making more informed decisions when it comes to capital management, to key executive choices, making decisions in the interest of long-term sustainability and taking the interests of all voices and need into account.

“We are making strides across all sectors of society, but it is not enough. And why is that? Because until the world achieves gender parity across all spheres, human kind will continue to underperform as a species,” she said.

***

The USB Business Breakfast is an annual event held in Johannesburg and Cape Town where USB academics and guest speakers engage with industry on insights from the latest research and business practices on governance mechanisms that drive socially sustainable solutions.

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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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budget

As a woman, what does the budget mean for me

USB News

As a woman, what does the budget mean for me

budget

  • MAR 08 2019
  • Tags Opinion Piece, Women, Budget, International Women’s Day

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Walking in the streets, being in the workplace, even sitting at home or being a student as a woman in this nation may open one to a plethora violations. South Africa is currently facing a national crisis of rape, violence and femicide against women and children. Globally surpassing all our counterparts, we have the highest level of femicide at 12.1 women murdered per

100 000, and the highest level of incidence of rape at 138 per 100 000. These shockingly and unusually high levels of violence require a multipronged approach, but more importantly the judicial and policing response must be buttressed by finance.

The Minister of Finance in his recent address informed the nation of a R1.8 trillion budget estimate that will be spent in the upcoming financial year. We heard of the R15 billion downward tax burden revision and the R248 billion shortfall National Treasury is confronted with. This points to the indebted fiscal position as we currently spend more than what we are able to collect as tax. The result is a persistent budget shortfall leading to between 4.3% to 4.6% deficit over the short to medium term. Driving unsustainably high debt to GDP ratios, we have meandered from 55.9% and we creep towards the threshold of 60%. If we surpass these levels we not only have credit rating agencies to worry about, but we are likely to reverse government expenditure gains as we knock on the 59% ratio in the short term due to the high debt servicing cost burden.

“We need a different type of growth. A growth that drives poverty indices downwards, a growth that minimizes inequality and a growth that attacks unemployment that is largely female in nature.”

The numbers show growing our economy has to be the priority of the state and all its partners. This growth has to exceed the stagnant 0.7% growth of 2018, in fact we have to be dreamers and target a 6% pro-poor, labour intensive and inclusive growth. Some would argue that is what we did more than a decade ago but we derailed. I agree that we derailed, I however disagree that our economic policies were pro-poor and labour intensive targeting in particular rural and marginalised women in both urban and peri-urban regions. They were not.

We experienced a largely jobless growth in the mid-2000s, we need a different type of growth. A growth that drives poverty indices downwards, a growth that minimizes inequality and a growth that attacks unemployment that is largely female in nature. Poverty looks black, inequality is intensified upon women and unemployment exacerbated with the youth. The 2017 Stats South Africa Poverty Report observed that poverty levels in the population have dropped from 66% to 55% between 2006 and 2015. Yet we still have more than 30 million people living in poverty. What was observed is the national level of inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient is 0.65 with black Africans showing the highest levels of poverty. Females have both higher levels of poverty and unemployment, they bore the biggest brunt of the jobless growth phenomena due to our economic structure and the inability of existing incentives to absorb the marginalised in critical mass into the heartbeat of economic activity. South Africa is now growing at a snail’s pace, and this has to be changed. The pattern we see is that there is a clear feminization of unemployment as women are facing 29.4% unemployment versus male unemployment of 25.9%, this worsens in the 15-24 year old bracket more than doubling.

“Growth must benefit the poor for it to be sustainable, of which most are women and rural. There can be no real growth without women being empowered. Empower women and the entire nation will grow.”

Stirred up we were after the presidential State of the Nation address, promises were made leaving us full of hope. The budget speech yanked us back to reality as it did not give the nation a clear growth agenda, the nation is in dire need of a succinct, prioritised sectoral interventions and funded growth plan. How will we achieve acceleration of growth with the multiplicity of economic cluster interventions that have not yielded an increase in the value added contribution of primary and secondary sectors in the last two decades? The targeted incentives are already in operation through our economic cluster ministries and agencies have not led to a jump in growth. Instead we see a crippled mining and agriculture sector coupled with deindustrialisation. This was long before anyone even mentioned the words land expropriation without compensation. Instead, whilst emerging market economies are averaging 4.5% growth, higher than first world economies at a meagre 2-3% average due to growth of value adding sectors and aggressive exporting strategies. South Africa remains on its knees at an estimated 1.5% growth for the year ahead. One wonders how this will come to pass with no clear growth plan, minimal targeted interventions for rural and marginalised communities to access markets and growth of SMMEs, and continued trade deficits on the back of lackluster export levels by largely white owned companies. Positive signs is the evidence of fiscal consolidation shown by the state in reducing expenditure and the efforts towards the improvement of SARS tax collection capabilities. The conditionality of attaining guarantees for state owned enterprises is a sign of a change in the free for all mentality that reigned where we now have almost R800 billions of state guaranteed debt. Thrown upon us might I add by a predominantly male led government, with male CEOs, executives and Chairperson’s in state owned enterprises. Women remain on the brunt and receiving end of decisions they were never welcomed into the boardroom to partake in.

 

A concerted efforted in the growth of the economy must be made to ensure the 51% women become economically active agents of the economy. Factors such as the scale of state expenditure that is allocated towards women, women owned companies, rural based cooperatives that comprise largely of women and equivalent has to be emphasized. State procurement is not sufficiently used to empower women, in a targeted and concerted effort. To improve the social and economic status of women Treasury must capture and monitor gender related indicators in procurement that must drive legislative prescripts advancing women across all departments and agencies. How much of the proposed R1.8 trillion budget will be allocated towards gender specific initiatives that have the power to transform the economic plight of women significantly to shift unemployment and inequality? How much of our economic cluster focuses on equipping SMMEs through agencies such as the National Empowerment Fund and SEFA who are geared towards supporting the likely game changers of our economy? With a thrust on emerging entrepreneurs, they are likely to positively impact the indicators driving the high Gini-coefficient. Significant capitalisation of these institutions must be considered and included in the allocation by ministries towards development finance institutions that empower specifically women and SMMEs that are black owned.

 

Disappointingly, after the Gender-based violence (GBV) Summit and promises made to resource the fight against GBV, there are few concrete financing proposals mentioned at budget level. We don’t know how the state intends to finance interventions that are required to prioritise the institutional response to the GBV crisis. There is need for a multiplicity of interventions, the criminal justice system must be supported to ensure that it is able to adequately address the complexity of prevention, law and policy support interventions that strengthen our responses. This requires sufficient budget allocation and resources to hold offenders accountable, to adequately equip the justice and policing cluster with the might to respond. I am not at all suggesting we build more prisons. We will watch closely the budget votes and whether institutions that support the plight of women will be adequately financed. If not, the budget as it is stands means the average woman on the ground will stay the same, excluded, marginalised and poor. The continued struggle of women will remain evident in statistics that show the lack of prioritisation, exclusion and violation. This must change, I am hopeful, forever the optimist, women and the girl child will be empowered in this our lifetime. Growth must benefit the poor for it to be sustainable, of which most are women and rural. There can be no real growth without women being empowered. Empower women and the entire nation will grow.

Nthabiseng Moleko is a Commissioner at the CGE who also teaches Economics and Statistics at USB. Follow her on Twitter @drnthabimoleko

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