A review of challenges facing black and white women managers in South Africa

Type Journal Article - Southern African Business Review
Title A review of challenges facing black and white women managers in South Africa
Volume 3
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 1999
Page numbers 15-26
URL ttp://www.unisa.ac.za/contents/faculties/service_dept/docs/Vol 3 Num 2-.pdf#page=17
With the demise of apartheid an the implementation of equal opportunity and affirmative action legislation, there has since 1994 at least been formal, legislated equality between people of different races and genders in South Africa. Despite the changes that have taken place, the latest statistics on management show that whites, as a group, still account for the largest percentage of management (57%), and are thus over-represented as a population group in comparison with the percentage that whites form of the general population. Moreover, white males comprise 41% of management, while white females comprise only 16%. Blacks, however, comprise 27% of management, with black males comprising 20% and black females only 7%. It is t hus evident that males, especially white males, are still over-represented in management, while females as a group, especially black females, are under-represented. Over and above investigating the disparity in the proportion of men and women in management there is also a need to compare and contraste the status of white and black women in management, as well as to examine the number of differences between these two groups. Even though both groups have experienced gender oppression and discrimination, it seems that black women face a dual challenge in attaining a top management position in the light of the conclusions reached in the draft South African Employment Equity Bill (1997:2). The bill indicates that it was 5000 times more likely for a white male South African (the previously most advantaged group) than for an African woman (the previously most disadvantaged group) to be in a top management position. Present-day South Africa is thus still experiencing not only male dominance but also white dominance in management.This paper firstly investigates the current disparity in numbers between male and female managers, as well as between white and black women in management and management training in South Africa. Secondly, the article investigates the existing masculine management paradigm and points out the importance of including feminine values in business leadership - the values women can add in corporate South Africa. Lastly, the article proposes some initiatives, in line with government policy and legislation, to build female, especially black female, critical mass in South African management.

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