Mainstreaming Black Women into Managerial Positions in the South African Corporate Sector in the Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)

Keywords: black women, corporate sector, chief executive, empowerment, fourth industrial revolution

Abstract

The active participation of Black South African women in the corporate sector is essential for the achievement of equity and diversity. Since 1994 the sector has failed to promote black women into managerial positions despite the existence of the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998 that requires the equitable representation of previously disadvantaged groups on all occupational levels. Conversely, the managerial positions in the South African corporate sector continue to be dominated by white males and little effort is being made to achieve equity. The paucity of black women persists in the corporate sector during a period in which South Africa, like many other countries, is preparing itself for the fourth industrial revolution, which has broad implications for the sector. Black women are under-represented in the emerging technological environment in South Africa, and this imbalance is further perpetuating the exclusion of black women from managerial positions. This paper argues that the emerging technological environment presents an opportunity for the corporate sector to reflect on the training needs of Black women and prioritise technology in its quest to achieve equity. An increase in the number of black women with technological skills would enhance their prospects of occupying meaningful managerial roles. The corporate sector in South Africa is expected to comply with progressive statutory interventions and policies to advance women in the emerging technological environment who have the right qualifications, experience, and competency to fill the managerial positions from which they were previously excluded. In this paper we examine and analyse the challenges which are hampering the progression of black women into managerial echelons in post-1994 democratic South Africa. In order to present an objective and balanced view, we also present the strides being taken by some corporates (very few of them) to address the problem of the obstacles to the advancement of Black South African women to managerial positions.

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Published
2021-06-23
Section
Special Edition: Corporate and Financial Markets 2021