Tuesday, May 13, 2008

South African Women a Majority in Government, Says BWA

South African Women a majority in govt

The percentage of women employed in government positions across all salary levels totals 54.76 percent, the Business Woman's Association said on Monday.

The official results of the women in corporate leadership census were announced by BWA chief executive Yvette Montalbano at a presentation at Nedbank's head office in Sandton.

In a statement, the association said the 2008 census was the first time — in its five year existence — that the governmental sector had been included.

"In spite of these encouraging figures, a huge disparity still exists in terms of salary levels as male civil servants/men in government still earn far more than their female counterparts at senior management level," the BWA said.

The census revealed that government's advancement of women in terms of employment equity was higher than in other sectors traditionally measured in the census, namely JSE-listed companies and state owned enterprises.

On the corporate side, the census showed that although there had been a steady increase in the employment of women in top executive positions, women were still lagging behind their male counterparts within corporate South Africa.

"The results are positive but they also show that we still have a long way to go," said Montalbano.

"In most of the corporate categories, there has been a very slight increase over the previous years and whilst we are encouraged we can not allow ourselves to become complacent."

She said the BWA remained "adamant" that a split along racial lines, as advocated last year by the Employment Equity Commission, would not help its cause as women of all races and colours continued to be discriminated against and overlooked in corporate South Africa.

"Our figures bear testimony to this."

BWA president Basetsana Kumalo said the association was encouraged by the public sector which had demonstrated how true gender equality should be achieved.

"Our attempt to make government accountable by introducing the Women in Government Leadership element in the 2008 census has got off to an excellent start as the figures are beyond our expectations."

She said although salary levels were still disproportionate, accolades needed to go to the government for believing in South Africa's women and providing them with opportunities for career growth and self-development.

A detailed analysis of government data, as at 30 September 2007, showed that the number of women in government across all salary levels totalled 649 718 compared to 536 688 men.

Montalbano highlighted that the biggest disparity in government was prevalent when looking at salary levels.

"Men hold the majority of senior management positions at 67.8 percent and therefore get the bulk of the reward. This is alarming and needs to be corrected going forward," she said.

The 2008 census measured 335 South African companies, and of these, 318 were JSE-listed companies.

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