Background

On 21 September 2009 the International Women’s Forum of South Africa (IWFSA) in partnership with Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI) and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) hosted a Colloquium of Women Directors. This attracted attention and mobilised both state and private agencies into action for the diversity of corporate directors.

On 11 November 2010 Dr Vuyo Mahlati (current IWFSA President) participated in the 2nd Global Roundtable on Board Diversity hosted by CWDI and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Washington DC. Her topic was “Reviewing Legislative Mandates: Do Quotas Work?”

The Project therefore aims to facilitate dialogues with key partners to define the agenda for the promotion of corporate diversity, increased labour force participation, particularly in decision-making positions and wage inequality. Norway is one of the leading countries in terms of the WEF Gender Equality Gap as well as CWDI. Study tours by selected South African women to Norway will form part of agenda development. The intention is to study the enabling environment for success, structures and systems for gender mainstreaming.

To ensure engagement in the Africa Decade Project process and to engender the New Growth Path, IWFSA together with partners is facilitating dialogue sessions and research towards sector strategies for women empowerment. This process is aimed at contributing towards inclusive growth and placing gender equality at the centre of South Africa’s Vision and Development Plan.

On 21 September 2010 IWFSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) for knowledge management and capacity building related to women leadership development.

This followed the launch of the African Women Leaders Survey, an innovative research project on women leadership development within the African continent. This was in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from Absa. The research was conducted by Frontier Advisory. Through this proposal IWFSA aims to develop a corporate leadership and women economic empowerment strategy with a sustainable system that defines and annually monitors Women Leadership and Participation in the Economy.

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