NEW HEIGHTS FOR BUSINESS WOMEN
By: Lucia Mzinyathi
The 1956 spirit of togetherness among women was awakened by the 2013 Women in Business Series which went around South Africa.
There were 14 events across all the South African provinces in August, aimed to uplift and give guidance to women in business. All 14 were hosted by ABSA in partnership with the South African Black Entrepreneurs Forum (SABEF).
Like the thousands of women who marched against pass laws 57 years ago, these women have dedicated their lives to assisting other women to reach their highest potential in business.
The series concentrated on good ethical structures, on starting and maintaining a business and implanting sisterhood love. The guest speaker of one of the dinner series held at Elangeni Hotel in Durban, Lily Houston who is CEO of Richie Houston CC, advised the women who filled the dining hall to never lose their integrity.
The introduction of the pass laws and the Group Areas Act No 41 of 1950 was a driving force for the women who marched in 1956. In 2013, women in business have come together to root out the imbalances between men and women of this generation by empowering women to take centre stage.
The likes of Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu, Sophie Williams-DeBruyn and others came together to combat sexism within the anti-apartheid groups and formed the Federation of South African Women more than five decades ago.
In post apartheid South Africa, women still have some demons to fight Equipping others with tools to gain confidence and achieve their ambition the right way will go a long way to winning these battles. WIBS boasts the likes of Lily Houston, Nothando Zungu, Lindiwe Rakharebe, Yaa Ashantewaa K. Archer-Ngidi, Busani Mametya, Matsi Modise and others to fly the sisterhood flag up high.
These women have committed themselves to empowering other women and coaching them to greatness without compromising their values as women. “Do not use God’s given tool in-between your legs to get what you want. Achieve your ambition the right way,” KZN ABSA Regional Executive, Lindiwe Rakharebe said at the Durban event.
Nothando Zungu of Igagasi FM, entrepreneur and professional performer stressed the power of unity and the ‘do it yourself’ spirit. Zungu said, “Nobody is going to reward you for sleeping, so get up and make it happen and do not forget to lift others with you as you climb up the ladder of success”. “You must be excited about your fellow woman’s success, we are not just building women but the nation,” she said.
Women are people with many abilities, the delegated named some of these abilities as rocking the cooperate suit, and still go home to cook for your husband and change dippers.
Marching against pass laws in 1956 and celebrating Womens Month this August may be over, but building a strong nation and empowering women to love and look out for each other in business is ongoing. For women in business, ‘creating meaningful relationships with other women’ is a step they continue to take every day. The organisers are expecting to double the numbers of attendees next year for each of the WIBS.