Women in Management – Success stories, the rise in female owned companies.

Women’s month has been incredible with so many organisations highlighting women’s rights and empowerment.  We thought it would be fitting to highlight success stories as well as discuss challenges facing female entrepreneurs. We’d love you to comment and share your insights at the end. According to www.entrepreneurs.com female-led businesses only make up 30 percent of companies around the world. Female owned businesses are on the increase with statistics showing steady growth globally.

The latest study from July 2017 was done by Dell “WE Cities” Index which Ranks Top 50 Global Cities for Women Entrepreneurs, EVP and chief customer officer at Dell. Karen Quintos says:

“Globally, women’s entrepreneurship rates are growing more than 10 percent each year. In fact, women are as likely or more likely than men to start businesses in many markets. However, financial, cultural and political barriers can limit the success of these businesses”

The 10% growth rate cements the growth of women entrepreneurs, a realistic figure, not forgetting to highlight the context each entrepreneur finds themselves in. The top 5 cities are New York, San Francisco( Bay Area), London, Boston and Stockholm. Austin, Texas is at number 15, the last two on the list ranking at number 49 and 50 are Delhi and Jakarta. Are you surprised at the number of African cities’, more specifically Johannesburg at 28, ranking higher than Nairobi at 33 and Beijing in Asia at 38? Now that we know understand the ranking each city finds itself in globally we can unpack facts in an international, African and South African context.


Lameez Omarjee, a writer for www.fin24.com mentions that: “research shows that 70% to 80% of global consumption is influenced by women. Having more women in the decision-making process can help organisations relate to customers better. “ The power of female consumers is reaffirmed in figures from America showing that only 3 percent of the 80 percent of women consumers in the United States are creative directors in advertising.

The MINT economies (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) saw the most improvement, with the proportion of senior roles held by women rising from 24% in 2016 to 28% in 2017 and the percentage of businesses with no women in senior management falling from 36% in 2016 to 27% in 2017. Almost four in ten businesses in G7 countries have no women in senior management positions.

They are only 14.6 percent of executive officers, 8.1 percent of top earners, and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.


In a special report on www.fin24.com highlights the fact that only 5% of CEOs in Africa are women. This report, done in 2016 shows Africa’s growth in gender diversity over the last 10 years. Companies that have gender diversity is said to be performing better financially. Off the top of your head, what could be the contributing factors? This relates back to each cases’ cultural context and political barriers noted at the beginning.

Here are a few key findings from the McKinsey Women Matter report for 2016:

At an Executive committee level:

  • African women hold 23% of positions, compared with a global average of 20%.
  • At the board level, African women hold 14% of seats compared with a global average of 13%.
  • In the Southern African region, 20% of board positions are held by women, compared to the 14% average on the African continent.

It is inspiring to see that Africa is on par with global percentages. Johannesburg and Jakarta are two African cities included in the Top 50 Global Cities for Women Entrepreneurs. It would be interesting to relook at these figures in 2018 and 2021 to conduct a comparative analysis for a 5 year period.

South Africa

Did you know that only 28% of senior management roles in South Africa are held by women according to the latest Women in Business report released on International Women’s Day (8 March 2017)? South Africa is slightly ahead of the global average of 25% of senior roles held by women (SA: 28%) and better than the global average of 34% of businesses with no women in senior management (SA: 31%).

Mike Anderson, CEO and founder of the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC), says that South Africa needs to not only build entrepreneurship but to encourage and develop female business owners. We agree with his point and think that this can be started in learning institutions, starting as early as primary school level encouraging market days in August, tying it into Women’s Month.

Another positive step the country is taking is a campaign to increase the proportion of women in tourism management positions to 30% in the next five years. This was launched by Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa at Africa’s Travel Indaba, or simply Indaba as it is better known. https://www.brandsouthafrica.com/investments-immigration/indaba-wants-more-women-in-management It’s important that we back initiatives like this, to foster the growth of women in management.

In the marketing sector, Women in Marketing is now taking global entries which means that female leaders in Africa and South Africa can enter the following categories:

  • The one to watch
  • Digital Influence Campaign of the Year Award and
  • Best leader in Marketing

We encourage you to share this post and encourage your friends and colleagues to enter. Entries close on the 18th of September  http://bit.ly/2v9x3G9

Women to watch – Locally

Pam Golding

The most recognised property group in the country was formed by Pam Golding in 1976.

She is notably the only woman listed in the South Africa 2017 Wealth Report greatest businessmen and women in SA history list. She ranked 5th overall for building the biggest real estate group in the country. The article featured on Property 24.

Nonkululeko Gobodo

In the male-dominated accounting industry, Nonkululeko Gobodo was South Africa’s first black female chartered accountant and is a successful businesswoman and mentor.

Women leaders in management are making strides in all sectors globally. One initiative to watch that recognises women entrepreneurs in Africa.

Visit: http://www.lionessesofafrica.com/lionesses/ to check out the top 100 lionesses in Africa