In a conference hall full to capacity at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Rosebank, we congregated to take part in PPC Women’s Forum’s third annual Women’s Day event. With delegates across different industry platforms, men and women came in honour of Women’s Day. PPC Ltd. is a leading cement supplier in southern Africa, and in its mission to promote gender equality in the workplace, it gave birth to the PPC Women’s Forum. The 9th of August marks National Women’s Day, a day where we honour the women who back in 1956 marched to the Union Buildings so their voice could be heard. Some were carrying children on their backs, while some walked barefoot marching for their rights. Fast-forward 58 years later and the struggle continues, yet today we march in a different attire, we do it in 5-inch patent stiletto heels.
“Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world” – Hilary Clinton
The PPC Women’s Forum hosted this event on 8 August 2014, in the North of Johannesburg. The PPC Women’s Forum is a change agent enforcing transformation in a male-dominated industry. This forum was established in 2011 with the aim of giving women a platform to voice out some of the issues they have in the workplace. No, this is not a place for women to come together and complain about unfavourable working conditions but rather a place where female talent, leadership and innovation is cultivated.
The host for the day was the dynamic Judy Nwokedi, her charm and wit had the guests eating out of her hand. The theme for the day was “Beyond the bag, Beyond the boarders, Beyond the gender stereotypes”, and the invite came saying we should dress up in outfits inspired by the countries that PPC has a footprint in. The attires that the women came in were beautiful, colourful and proudly African. The PPC Women’s Forums Chairperson and PPC CFO, Tryphosa Ramano started off the event by giving feedback on the progress of the Forum. The event hosted a number of notable speakers and also had panel discussions which gave the guests a platform to engage with the panel and share knowledge on some topics.
The first panel of the day featured the President of International Women Forum South Africa Dr. Vuyo Mahlati, President of Leading Women in Africa Ms. Madelein Mkunu, Chairman of Deloitte Southern Africa Dr. Futhi Mtoba and CEO of Cimerwa Busi Legodi. The discussion for this particular panel was about the role of women in Africa over the next 50 years. The second panel which focused on gender inequality in the workplace had the following panellists; CEO of Busara Leadership Partners Ms. Dudu Msomi, CEO of Nozala Investments Ms. Salukazi Dakile-Hlongwane, and CEO of Business Engage Ms. Colleen Larsen.
Chairperson of the PPC Women’s Forum Tryphosa Ramano said, “At PPC, 21.9% of the total number of employees are women. At the same time we acknowledge the vast amount of work still to be done in order to achieve equality and gender sustainability in the workplace. I have no doubt that the PPC Women’s Forum will play a leading role in achieving this.”
In a highly competitive male-dominated working environment, women continue to make strides in order to be heard and acknowledged. Companies such as PPC Ltd. acknowledge the contribution women bring to any corporation. It is our duty as a continent to continue to empower women, with the understanding that the development and growth of Africa lies in our ability to unite, male and female to create a better Africa.