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South Africa

In South Africa Racism and Sexism are different sides of the same coin. The Constitution allows for non-racialism and non-sexism together with the elimination and remedy of gender equality.

The key focus of the National Gender Machinery was, inter alia;

  • To build a critical mass of women leaders, executives and managers in strategic decision making positions; and
  • Review the 30% quota with regard to women in decision making positions in the public service in line with the new 50% parity clause of SADC Heads of State.

The Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Act of 2003 sought to increase the participation of previously disadvantaged groups, with women within these groups being particularly singled out.


As from January 2017 the board of directors or the nomination committee of all JSE Listed companies, as the case may be, must have a policy on the promotion of gender diversity at board level.

The company is required to report to shareholders in its annual report on how the board of directors or the nomination committee, as the case may be, have considered and applied the policy of gender diversity in the nomination and appointment of directors. If applicable, the board of directors or the nomination committee must further report progress in respect thereof on agreed voluntary targets. 


Companies Act

In addition to the BBBEE Act, South Africa has had an upgrade of the Companies Act which should also have a long term positive impact on gender equality and women's development.


The Minister may prescribe that a company or category of companies must have a Social & Ethics Committee. The Minister has in fact prescribed this for every listed company and any other company above 500 points.

The function of these committees include;

  • Monitoring company activities with regards to relevant legislation;
  • Good corporate citizenship including the company's promotion of equality, unfair discrimination and its educational development of its employees.