Gibela Online Transport Magazine offers its heartfelt tribute to women in South Africa – in corporate business, entrepreneurship and all spheres of life. For a long time the issue of gender balance has been occupying many people’s minds for many different reasons. Gender balance and gender equality are almost identical issues by the nature of their impact in society.
August is widely known as a month during which women the world over are celebrated and hailed as the only species that is able to hold the world together. Some countries have enacted laws meant to either protect the rights of women in their pursuit of their long lost freedom – freedom once taken away from them as successive governments unilaterally saw it for to change at will what was right and what was wrong for them. In countries like Afghanistan in the Middle East, where until recently women were banned from driving on national roads, a lot seems to be changing in favour of those stolen freedoms. The Middle East, long seen as the fiefdom where freedoms for women and people in general were trampled upon, changes are seemingly taking place where the rights of others are now respected and protected.
It is against this background that women were perceived then and now – from those times during which their qualifications for occupations in different sectors were seen as just window dressing – to now being serious contenders for top posts should be seen. In South Africa, the legacy from the apartheid era that sadly encouraged racial discrimination has not been widely wiped out from the minds of law makers and decision makers in both the private and public sectors.
Up until the early 2000s a lot of women had to still up to that time painfully still had to get approval from their male counterparts had begun to emerge, thereby starting a process that culminated in a number of women climbing up the corporate and public sector rudder. That era saw the birth of what became known as “the new women entrepreneurs” and “women in the business big league” – all making names in a divers number of sectors such as energy, transport and logistics, financial and banking as well as others playing a meaningful role in the economic operations of the country. It is these women that as Gibela Magazine we today celebrate. These are women who are today top managers in their workplaces; top CEOs in their own companies and leading communicators or strategists in their place of employment.
But in their determination for success, many of these women had to overcome historically held stereotypes as some men felt the new crop of self-independent women were posing as a threat in careers that were mainly seen as “men’s fields”. We do not want to mention individual names of women who have made it against all odds as well as their companies but a pioneering group of women, led by people like Gloria Serobe and Wendy Luhabe – to men the but a few- will always be seen as having paved the way for those who came after them. The new crop of female corporate successes include Charmagne Mavudzi who is Volvo Car SA’s new CMO (chief marketing officer), Kgethi Phakeng who is Vice-Chancellor at UCT
It is to these women that as Gibela Online Transport Magazine we doff our hats to. These are the early pioneers who paved the way for the generation of women leaders in media, transport, engineering, manufacturing and similar areas to follow in their footsteps. In our profile of some of these women in the transport sector we have tried to delve much into their views on their thinking and perspective on the subject of other women in the public and private sector space. We are also very mindful, and and sadly so, of the spread of spates of violence against women and girl children that has been a blight to our vibrant democracy. This is made worse because these violent crimes are happening when we as a country are caught right in the middle of a global pandemic of Covid-19 virus that has depleted both economic and social spheres of human kind.
When all is said and done it is to women that we turn to for comfort when the going gets tough. It is to women that we seek solace and a shoulder to cry on when all around us seem to turn against us. Happy Women’s Month to all African women.