Accenture South Africa reiterates its commitment to gender equality

09 August 2018 3 min. read
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Following on from its commitment to promoting gender equality in the workplace, Accenture teamed up with Thomson Reuters and Nedbank to organize a ‘Voices of Change’ call-to-action event, which aimed to foster an environment of collaboration to achieve goals of gender parity in South Africa and across the world. 

Global strategy consultancy Accenture is well-embedded in the gender equality movement across the globe. The firm has declared its goal of achieving a 50% female workforce for its global operations by 2025, and is working actively in regions where gender parity is particularly low, including South Africa.

A study conducted by fellow strategy consultancy Bain & Company last year revealed that women in South Africa are not only poorly represented in the workplace, but also hit a glass ceiling at some stage of their career, most often being overlooked for senior positions. Nearly a third of firms in South Africa have absolutely no female representation in their senior leadership.

Working towards rectifying this situation, Accenture has been actively working with other leaders of business in South Africa, specifically Thomson Reuters and Nedbank, to leverage their large resource-base and respective networks to begin targeted initiatives – a relationship that was first forged at the 2017 One Young World Summit.

Accenture South Africa reiterates its commitment to gender equality

The Voices of Change conference was centred around working towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that pertain to international collaboration for gender equality, specifically goals 5 and 17. The event was attended by over 200 professionals, the majority of whom were female.

Nedbank Finance Executive Bastiaan Smit spoke at the event, highlighting the journey that Nedbank had made from having just one female bank manager previously to having 62% female representation in the organisation today, although the bank still lacks female representation in the top ranks. “We need to find more role models for our female employees,” said Smit, addressing this problem.

Vukani Mngxati, who has been CEO of Accenture South Africa since May, also elaborated on Accenture’s goal of 50% female representation, stating that “with this goal, we are sending an important message to our people and our clients confirming our commitment to a gender-balanced workforce.”

“We embrace diversity as a source of creativity and competitive advantage. At Accenture, we have taken a number of steps to attract, retain, advance and sponsor women on our path to achieving a gender balanced workforce,” he added.

Thomson Reuters Managing Director Sneha Shah, meanwhile, spoke about the abuse that women face even at home and at the workplace even when they do make it into senior positions. “Gender violence alone takes away 1% of South Africa’s GDP. We all need to take decisive action,” she said, adding that “We as a society need to speak to men about their roles, as we speak to our boy children, about what it means to be a man.”