SA must bring more women in corporate and business sectors

Date: September 10, 2012
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Name of the article : Bring more women on to boards

Name of publication : The New Age

Name of journalist : Bernard Sathekge

Date : 10 August 2012

Country : South Africa

Theme : Gender equality, business unusual, economics

Skills : Use of data, perspective, sources

Genre : News

GEM classification : Gender aware

One of the 28 targets in the 2008 SADC Protocol on Gender and Development is that “State Parties shall endevour that, by 2015, at least 50% of decision making positions in public and private sectors are held by women…” South Africa is a signatory to the Protocol. With only three years to the Protocol timeline, a recent research study in South Africa- which focused on the corporate sector – has indicated that the target is far from being achieved. What could be underlying causes for the underrepresentation of women? This media highlight analyses a story that reported on the low representation of women in the corporate sector.

The headline is appropriate and highlights the gist of the story. With this headline, the reader can deduce that there are few women in top decision making position of the corporate and business sector. A reader would ask a question like what impact would the inclusion of more women in boards bring. This ultimately compels the reader to read more.

The article uses a single source and justifies the arguments made by research findings. The use of these two types of sources validates an argument that calls for a need to “bring more women on to boards”. Nevertheless, the reporter could have also sought views other commentators to speak on the issue. For instance, the reporter could have interviewed a board chairperson or member of a certain company regarding positive attributes that women bring. Whilst the single source in the article has commented from an expert point of view, the board chairperson or member would have commented from practical experience.

The journalist could have also sought the views of a company which does not have women either in top decision making positions and board to explain why it does not consider incorporating women.

Story angle/ perspective
Overall, the story advocates that more able women should be given a chance to take top decision making positions in the corporate and business sectors. The article does this by providing research based evidence showing that women comprise a fraction of top decision makers in the country. Further, the article also gives research based evidence indicating that including more women in such positions is not political but contributes positively to the growth of an organisation. Use of research data makes the article credible.

The story uses an image of Nonkuleleko Nyembezi – Heita, one of the female chief executive officers in the country. The image is relevant and reinforces the article.

Placement and position
A bold headline, colour image and quick facts teaser box makes the article prominent.

Training exercise
– If you were assigned to write this story, what other sources would you have included and why?
– Discuss the importance of giving sex disaggregated data when reporting on human research findings and any other related statistical issues?
– How can companies ensure that they bring more women on to boards?

Other training resources
Business Unusual: gender and the economy
2011 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer – Employment and economic empowerment chapter

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