The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and intensified deep inequalities across Africa. Gains in gender equity are under threat as women disproportionately shoulder the burden of the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and intensified deep inequalities across Africa. Gains in gender equity are under threat as women disproportionately shoulder the burden of the pandemic. Last year, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, called on African nations to place women and girls at the centre of recovery plans. He noted that the pandemic was not only challenging global health systems but testing our common humanity: “Gender equality and women’s rights are essential to getting through this pandemic together, to recovering faster, and to building a better future for everyone.” It would not be fair or responsible to expect the public sector to achieve this alone. We must all play our part to create better homes, schools, workplaces and communities for women and girls, where they are encouraged and supported to reach their full potential. That is why the Standard Bank Group joined forces with the United Nations Women HeForShe movement in 2018. HeForShe invites men and women to stand in solidarity with gender equality and promote women’s empowerment. Standard Bank’s purpose is “Africa is our home, we drive her growth”. We recognise that this commitment requires us to play our part in ensuring that women and girls enjoy the same rights as men and boys. In the corporate world, that means that we must create an enabling environment, free from bias, in which women are able to advance and succeed on the basis of merit and ability. We recognise that it is inequitable and unsustainable to have a gender imbalance in our own leadership at Standard Bank. Standard Bank is therefore committed to reaching parity in executive positions across our operations. The public commitments we made after joining the HeForShe movement provided us with a very valuable sense of focus and urgency and gave new impetus in our drive to ensure gender equity, especially among senior executives. We set ourselves a number of gender targets and we are proud of the
Empowering women in the economy and closing gender gaps in the world of work are key to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and reducing inequalities. Today’s woman is a strategist, a wife, a mother, a student and a professional, all while handling the daily challenges of life with grace . Never has the need for women to juggle so many different roles been as prevalent as it is today. Increasing the economic prospects for women has been recognised worldwide as a beneficial factor, not just for themselves, but for the benefit of their households, communities and ultimately their countries. Providing women with greater economic empowerment effectively leads to increasing their right to economic resources and control over meaningful decisions. Yet gender inequality remains rife in Sub-Saharan Africa with the region being the most unequal in the world. One area that could fast track gender equality in the region is a targeted focus on supporting large scale growth in the SMME sector. Africa needs large-scale job creation in the small enterprise sector, but due to the risky proposition of entrepreneurs and start-ups for credit providers, financing remains a challenge and many SMMEs fail within their first two years. According to a 2018 World Bank report, Africa is one of the regions where the opportunities for female entrepreneurs could have a powerful impact on Africa’s growth. Anakazi Banking is a banking proposition launched by Stanbic Bank Zambia in 2017 to empower women entrepreneurs. By giving women increased access to capital,
Through the Climate Smart Agriculture project, women farmers, authorities, local farmer organisations and cooperatives are addressing structural inequalities in rural economies in Africa, including access to quality farmland. Despite complications brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, UN Women and Standard Bank are making progress to equip women farmers in Africa with the skills and resources needed to grow their businesses and succeed over the long term. In October 2019, Standard Bank and UN Women partnered to empower over 50,000 women farmers in Malawi, Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa through modern and environmentally friendly farming technologies that increase productivity and incomes. Through the Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) collaboration, women farmers, authorities, local farmer organisations and cooperatives are addressing the structural inequalities in rural economies in Africa, starting with the difficulties that women face in securing tenure for quality farmland. Standard Bank has provided funding worth US$3 million as well as ongoing support through financial literacy and other programmes. “The CSA project supports Standard Bank’s drive to create a gender-equal Africa and aligns with our purpose of driving the continent’s growth,” said Sola David-Borha, Chief Executive of Africa Regions at Standard Bank Group. “We believe it will meaningfully contribute to the upliftment of communities and the achievement of sustainable economic growth across Africa.” In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, digital technology is being used to conduct meetings where possible, and messages are being delivered via community radio stations, SMSs and marketing material. “This project is closely aligned to the UN Sustainable Development
In partnership with thought-leadership partner, Standard Bank
The Definitive List of Women CEOs in Africa
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