Organised by Top Women and Topco Media, the awards go to organisations that exhibit the most success in empowering women in their respective sectors.
The accolade given to Seda goes to the public service organisation that exhibits the highest level of gender empowerment. That is, at least 33.3% of overall staff and at least 25% of management must be female. In addition the organisation must have met its gender empowerment key performance indicators (KPIs).
CEO of Seda Hlonela Lupuwana chats to us.
Congratulations on winning the Top Gender Empowered Company: Public Service. How does it feel?
We are elated to have received this kind of recognition. It makes us proud to be recognised as having made a considerable contribution towards the empowerment of women in our country and the space within which we operate.
In your acceptance speech, you mentioned that Seda had put in place internal policies to ensure that women empowerment was favoured, would you expand on what those policies entailed?
Our recruitment policy requires that we look inside the organisation first whenever there is a vacancy to be filled, in order to promote from within, and hopefully with people from designated groups. As a result, at the end of the 2011/12 financial year, 72% of promotions within Seda went to women.
Our Employment Equity plan also ensures that we have gender balance at all levels, especially in core positions and leadership roles.
Our wellness policy also plays a critical role in ensuring work-life balance for our employees, especially women, in areas of education about relationships, abuse, counselling services, etc.
Seda won this award with you at the helm. Would you say it takes a woman to empower other women?
Not necessarily. The struggle for women empowerment in our country is an important part of the struggle against inequality, unemployment and poverty as acknowledged by government at the highest level. All that is required is a commitment from us all, women and men, to overcome the challenge.
49% of Seda's clients in the 2011/12 financial year were female. Would you say this is a reflection of the proportion of female versus male entrepreneurs in the country?
We would certainly hope so. The 2011 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor found that women’s involvement in early-stage entrepreneurship in South Africa sits at around 7% while that of men is around 12%. The Department of Trade and Industry is currently doing a census of small business in South Africa, and this will hopefully provide a clearer picture of where the country stands with regards to women involvement in entrepreneurship.
60% of Seda employees are female, 48% of which are at management and senior management level while 50% of the executive is female. Having attained these impressive figures, where to from here?
We are yet to sustain an overall 50% parity at management level, so that continues to be something to work towards. The development of our women employees will continue with a number of them earmarked for continuous leadership development as part of our succession planning.
We also plan to continue empowering women outside the organisation by promoting entrepreneurship among women. Together with our participation in the Take a Girl Child to Work initiative, we have also embarked on a drive to promote entrepreneurship at schools so as to instill entrepreneurial skills.
Other winners at the 2012 Top Women Awards included:
- Anglo American Platinum (Top Gender Empowered Company: Resources)
- Uvuko Civils Maintenance and Construction (Top Gender Empowered Company: Manufacturing and Engineering)
- Isilumko Staffing (Top Gender Empowered Company: Business Support Services)
- Netcare (Top Gender Empowered Company: Science, Bio-Technology and Healthcare)
- Thebe Exhibitions and Projects Group (Top Gender Empowered Company: Travel, Leisure and Entertainment)
- Tolcon Lehumo (Top Gender Empowered Company: Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics)
- KPMG (Top Gender Empowered Company: Financial) (Top Gender Empowered Company)
- ICT Neo Technologies (Top Gender Empowered Company)
- Keedo International (Top Gender Empowered Company: SMME Award)
- PC Training and Business College (Top Gender Empowered Company: Business, Education and Training)
- Gahaya Links (Top Gender Empowered Company: African SMME Award)
- Havas (Top Gender Empowered Multinational Award)
- Gia Whitehead from Tertiary School in Business Administration (Top Woman Entrepreneur) (Top Woman of the Year in Business)
- Funeka Ntombela from Standard Bank Group (Top Woman Executive)
- Ayanda Mngadi from SAMSA (Top Woman of the Year in the Public Sector)
- Dr Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma (Lifetime Achievement Award)