The role of women in gender equality and inclusion

7th August 2020

UKZN Extended Learning

– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase

In many parts of the world, the challenges of gender equality are still prevalent especially in emphasising womens’ roles as active players in the economy. Gender equality plays a significant role in inclusive growth, and by closing the gap we are cementing the idea that a level playing field is a key element of a well-functioning society, as well as being an essential force for sustainable economic growth. As women, we need to weave a network that allows us to work together to dismantle these stereotypes. Women have come too long of a way to be reduced to homemakers and have evolved to reach for greater heights in personal development. We have since launched our Women’s Month Webinar Series with a bang, our first session which took place on the 4th of August 2020, was presented by Ms. Mpume Langa (Finance Director, Unilever Southern Africa). The conversation surrounded challenging mindsets and putting into perspective the way we see things.

This year has presented its own unique set of challenges, the lockdown under South African regulations advised by WHO, has since fast-tracked to life as we now know it. Most organisations have resorted to working from home full time which has also exposed the gender dynamics further perpetuated in the household. As much as South Africa is a democratic country where women can vote and are active participants in the economy. Issues such as gender inequality, gender-based violence, and discrimination in the workplace still exist despite thinking that we have evolved as a society. Why? Gender stereotypes often play a significant role in the oppression of a certain group and these are often influenced by our upbringing and belief systems. The contributing factors being elements such as traditions and customs; religion; parent and role models, media and society as well as our own biases. Knowing what we know now, it is time for change to equip the next generation. May we remain steadfast in holding the relevant groups accountable for the measures they have taken in order to stop the vicious cycle. 

The aim of these webinars is to inspire growth and address the challenges and barriers for women to be recognised and feel seen. We would like to promote a vision for a future where all genders, regardless of socio-economic status are seen as equals and afforded fair opportunities and participation in decision-making processes that affect their livelihoods and well-being.  

To watch Mpume’s full webinar click here.

Please check our website for updates on this series and RSVP for these webinars here.