The Businesswomen’s Association (BWA) is the largest association of business and professional women in the country committed to inspiring and developing businesswomen through research, awards, bursaries, seminars, events, and training programmes. The BWA believes that gender transformation and equal representation of women in leadership positions is not only a key business imperative but also a moral obligation. It just makes good business sense.


Chapter Overview

This year’s Census has profiled a selection of great South African and International Leaders. Their journey and ‘words of wisdom’ have inspired us. We have no doubt readers are going to benefit directly from these revelations.
In addition to this, the chapters within this report are as follows:

Chapter 1 provides Key Findings, which highlight some interesting trends with respect to gender parity. The 34 Top Performing Companies and the absolute number and percentage of Directors and Executive Managers within them are outlined, followed by a discussion of the strategies utilised by them for success.

Chapter 2 includes a full analysis of Director and Executive Manager representation within the 273 JSE-listed organisations and the largest 20 SOEs. This includes, amongst others, an outline of companies with 50.0% or more women Directors on their Boards, the average number of Boards served on by women Directors, and the racial composition of women Directors. An analysis and discussion of the number and percentage of women Executive Managers, is provided. Finally, Director and Executive Manager representation across Industry Sectors is listed.

Chapter 3 outlines global views on transformation and the current representation of women Directors in various countries. South Africa’s progress towards gender parity on Director and Executive Manager level and that of other BRICS countries is compared. Finally a discussion of global views on the implementation of quota systems is documented.

Chapter 4 highlights the translation of relevant legislation into equal outcomes for women. Various legislation including the South African Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act, the Employment Equity Act, the Labour Relations, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, and the Skills Development Act are referred to as they relate to gender transformation and the progress of women to senior leadership positions.

Chapter 5 provides a survey of the representation of women in Top Management positions within the 20 largest SOEs as well as an additional 87 smaller SOEs. This includes a survey of women Directors, CEO’s, Executive Management, and Council or Committee Members.

Chapter 6 refers to gender transformation within the various departments within the Public Service. More specifically, women representation in Senior Management positions (classified as levels 13 to 16) as defined by the Department of Public Service Administration (DPSA) is reviewed.

Chapter 7 provides an overview of women in Leadership, with specific focus on gender transformation and parity within senior positions in Higher Education across the 26 public universities. Gender transformation and parity within various organisations in the Health Sector is detailed.

Chapter 8 outlines the shared success stories, lessons learnt and challenges faced by selected entrepreneurs across a wide range of sectors including agriculture, catering, accommodation, construction, electricity, gas and water services, finance, business support services, manufacturing, transport, storage, communication and wholesale trade.

Chapters 9 and 10 present a conclusion of the overall research and report, and outlines the Background, Methodology and Appendices.

For further information or to join the BWA as a member please visit our website BWASA Website, or contact us on (011)484 4945 or email us


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