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Why are Women in South Africa not ‘Going for Gold’ in the Business World?

Women in business often underestimate the value their contribution has towards shaping the future of the South African Economy. According to Elise Coetser, National Leader from SACBW, Facebook also revealed new research that women entrepreneurs have the potential to boost the South African economy by R175 billion by 2022. She said that “the study conducted by Development Economics, on behalf of Facebook, also projected that if all women who said that they were likely to start a business – and 26% actually followed through – will create 973 000 new jobs within 5 years, and more than 803 000 new businesses in four years.” 

After reading this, the question remains what is the challenges women face in themselves and in the business world? Why are they not “going for gold?” so to speak. Simple, women don’t feel empowered to do business. This was evident in the study which revealed the following responses: 

  • 37% said that they are not sure how to get started 
  • 36% worried about risk and their financial security 
  • 32% felt that they are not prepared and ready enough

The Mindspa Institute believes that with proper skills development, women are invested in, and encouraged to take their rightful place in the business world. The Essential Business Skills for South African Women interactive training course, offered by The Mindspa Institute, is aimed at female business professionals, who want to grow their business skills, build their leadership capabilities and improve their communication, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, delegation, and action-planning skills.

Business women also need to focus on mentorship and coaching. Seasoned business women need to, not only help one another but also help new up and coming business women in their journey to success. Sisterhood in the business world is such a powerful tool, but there are still women who don’t realise the importance of mentorship. 

The most harmful thing any woman can do in business is to act like a businessman or be a masculine leader. There are many natural attributes that enhance female leadership and make women excellent executives in their own right. For example, women are empathetic and flexible which makes them able to understand and negotiate with subordinates. “A woman leader is naturally more assertive and persuasive, has a stronger need to get things done and is more willing to take risks than a male leader”, according to a study conducted by Caliper, a Princeton-based management consulting firm. “Women leaders were also found to be more empathetic and flexible, as well as stronger in interpersonal skills than their male counterparts.”

The time for women to embrace their leadership and business skills is long overdue. Women of South Africa, the business world is your oyster, but it is up to you to develop your skills, take a leap of faith and be confident in yourself. You are in charge of your own success and happiness. Make it happen.