Women in leadership urged to uplift others

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pretoria - A Tshwane businesswoman has challenged women in leadership positions to act as a channel of uplifting other women who are less fortunate by creating opportunities for employment.

“Women in leadership positions, industry, academia and politics should act as conduit of the upliftment of other women by creating opportunities and initiatives for employment, as well as creating and supporting meaningful corporate social responsibility programmes, which ultimately touch on enterprise development, socio-economic development projects which further the cause of gender parity,” said Tshwane businesswoman, Dr Anna Mokgokong.

“Under these circumstances, there is no room for failure and there is no mediocrity. We need to create more female industrialists because if they are at the top, they can be role models for our young people,” she said.

The doctor-turned-entrepreneur, who is the executive chairperson of Community Investment Holdings Company, was speaking at a ‘Women in Business’ luncheon, hosted by the City of Tshwane in partnership with Proudly South Africa, on Friday.

Themed, “Women of Destiny: Tshwane Investing in Business Women 2055”, the luncheon aimed at discussing gender equity and economic growth.

Mokgokong, who stopped practicing as a doctor two years before the dawn of democracy, encouraged South African women to be assertive and stand up for their rights.

“You don’t just arrive at success; it’s a careful and meticulous calculated move. You must ooze with confidence as the City is open to uplift businesswomen. We need activists in the boardrooms because corporate South Africa is appalling in terms of transformation…numbers don’t lie.

“The courage, strength, spirit, innovation and leadership displayed daily by South African women are truly inspiring,” she said.

Dr Mokgokong said the 20 years of democracy brought about meaningful change in such a way that even the City of Tshwane is hoping to have the most number of successful entrepreneurial women and industrialists in the next 20 years.

“Remember, we have just gone through the first 20 years, where we were levelling the fields to plant and the field is levelled, now we are ready, so let’s go and work. 

“If you set your mind towards success, there is no way that you can fail. We all have the propensity to become business leaders, but this can lie dormant within us. You can even go to your grave with the seeds of greatness in you, hence it needs to be ignited,” she said.

With a smile, Mokgokong told SAnews before she qualified as a medical student; she had a four-month business in Ga-Rankuwa shopping centre selling handbags.

“When I started I had nothing, but today government is creating a lot of opportunities for us as women. The City has rolled out the red carpet for us with the view of driving radical economic transformation, but all these opportunities need innovative women.”

The City’s Executive Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said: “As women, you must generate ideas that are beginning to foreground the work that we are doing of enhancing the prospects of resolving the social-economic conflict in our society. There must be some effort from you to help us to respond to the challenges that are facing society.”

Proudly South African Chief Executive Officer Adv Leslie Sedibe said a lot of negative stories about the country come from South Africans themselves.

“Very sadly, some of the negative things said about South Africa, actually come from South Africans, if you think that there’s something wrong with society, watch your heart and watch your mouth because out of abundance of your heart, your mouth will speak, that’s what we need to be careful of.

“We believe in partnership and productivity. We need to be productive as South Africans and re-industrialise South Africa,” he said.

In order to grow the economy through fighting inequality, unemployment and poverty, Sedibe urged business women to buy South African products. “You must watch what you buy and where it was made because the more you buy products that are not made in South Africa, you are creating job opportunities elsewhere,” he said.

National President of Junior Chamber International (South Africa) Angel Kgokolo said: “The youth unemployment rate is very high, but if we can collaborate as business women and desist from blaming government, we can be able to find a sustainable solution facing the current generation”.

Barclays Head of Business Banking in South Africa, Happy Ralinala, said for them, it is an undeniable fact that the solution to unemployment lies in the development of small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, today marks the close of Women’s Month.  South Africa commemorates Women’s Month in August as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. The Government of South Africa declared August women’s month and 9 August is celebrated annually as Women’s Day.- SAnews.gov.za