BEE Commission to highlight women economic empowerment

Advancing women’s economic empowerment will take centre stage at the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Commission’s conference on opportunities for women.

Trade and Industry Minister, Dr Rob Davies, the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, Joan Fubbs, and the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Elizabeth Thabethe, are expected to address the conference that will be held on 24 August.

Opportunities available for black women, eradicating barriers to economic participation and increasing women participation on boards and ownership structures of companies and government entities are among the issues the trio will speak to.

One of the objectives of the B-BBEE Act is to increase the extent to which black women own and manage existing and new enterprises, and increasing their access to economic activities, infrastructure and skills training.

To achieve this, black women must have access to financial and non-financial assistance to acquire stakes in companies or to start their own businesses, and be able to sustain them, said the B-BBEE Commission on Friday.

The conference aims to raise awareness during this Women’s Month of opportunities for black women and also on how to take advantage of the opportunities provided in the B-BBEE Act to develop women and grow women-owned businesses.

The target set in the Codes of Good Practice for black women representation on boards is at 25%, but a report released by the commission indicates that black women representation is only at 18% for companies listed on the JSE [Johannesburg Stock Exchange], despite women being in the majority in South Africa.

White males continue to occupy 58% of the board positions, with black males accounting for 20% of board positions, said the commission.

Held under the theme ‘Advancing Women Economic Empowerment through the B-BBEE Act’, the conference will take place at the Velmore Hotel in Pretoria. Information on the conference is available on the commission’s website (www.bbbeecommission.co.za).

The B-BBEE Commission is an entity of the dti.

Source: South African Government News Agency