WEPs in Action- South Africa

South Africa

First in-person WEPs Community of Practice

On 28 August 2023, UN Women SAMCO in collaboration with Alex Forbes and Business Engage hosted the first in-person WEPs Community of Practice (CoP). Several WEPs signatories attended, including the companies Alex Forbes, SASOL and AECI which gave key presentations of their work and commitments on gender equality. It gave signatories the opportunity to engage in mutual learning, strengthen relationships, and create a forward-looking pathway for the agenda on women’s empowerment. The panelists shared their actions related to different WEPs principles. 

In unpacking principle 1 (High-Level Corporate Leadership), Carina Wessels from Alex Forbes, shared the organizations journey which could be used as a framework for demonstrating leadership commitment towards institutionalizing WEPs and gender equality. Jabulile Ratsibe, from SASOL, presented some of the women empowerment projects that are part of SASOL programmes in addressing principle 5 (Enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices). While Nicole Solomon from AECI focused on principle 6 (Community initiatives and advocacy) anchored on community initiatives and advocacy that focus on eliminating discrimination and violence against women and girls, valuing unpaid care and domestic work, ensuring the full participation of women in the economy, including through financial inclusion, and equal access for them to resources. 

Through a case study, AECI presented some measures they have implemented internally to develop and enhance the leadership capabilities of women, especially through the organization of meetings and events in partnership with Business Engage (Board walk and Leader walk). They also highlighted the main challenges they are facing to realize their goal, underlining that the pool for women in leadership is decreasing for towards senior and top management. By taking specific measures to overcome these challenges, AECI was able to achieve concrete results by adding 3 new female board members, by granting a 3% increase in promotion of women annually and by raising awareness on women empowerment with senior leaders. 

UN Women SAMCO will continue to work with WEPs signatories in the region to foster their engagement on women empowerment and to mobilize them in support of key UN Women programmes.