The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) has been awarded the prestigious “Top Gender Empowered Company: Public Service” at the Top Women Awards 2012. Top Women Awards go to organisations that demonstrate the most success in empowering women in their respective sector. The awards are organised by Top Women and Topco Media.
The award given to Seda goes to the public service organisation that demonstrates the highest level of gender empowerment. An important factor is measurable and accountable leadership that is committed to developing women in that organisation; namely, at least 33.3% of overall staff and at least 25% of management must be female, the organisation has met its gender empowerment key performance indicators (KPIs) and targets for gender relations and globalisation within the departmental or public structure, and vision for the public service going forward.
Receiving the award, Hlonela Lupuwana, the CEO of Seda, said it was gratifying that the organisation’s efforts on women empowerment have been recognised. “The work of women empowerment in our organisation has been work in progress for many years. We have put in place a number of internal policies that are geared to be in favour of women empowerment over the years and they are now showing positive results,” explains Lupuwana.
Seda’s female empowerment profile
Sixty per cent of employees at Seda are women, with 48% of management and senior management positions held by women. At executive management level Seda had achieved a 50% women representation at the end of the 2011/12 financial year, and six out of nine of its provincial operations were headed by women.
Empowerment was not only internal but extended to the small businesses the organisation works with, as Lupuwana explains: “Seda endeavours to ensure that an equitable percentage of clients it works with are women-owned businesses. Out of the 15 391 clients that Seda worked with during 2011/12, 49% were women.”
Finalists in the Top Gender Empowered Company: Public Service included the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), Pan South African Language Board, SAMSA, and the South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA).
The judges were:
The judging panel included top South African businesswomen Basetsana Kumalo, Leigh Gunkel-Keuler (director at Pfizer South Africa), Stewart van Graan (GM: Dell Southern and Central Africa), Christine Ramon (chief financial officer and executive director of Sasol Limited) and Dolly Mokgatle (executive director of Peotona Group Holdings). The judges assessed entrants across a number of categories that were formulated to reflect the growing influence of women in all sectors of business and government.