Johannesburg - With 28% of senior management positions held
by women in 2012, South Africa does better than the global average, a survey
"The fact that South Africa's women are strongly
represented in senior management relative to many other parts of the world,
says a lot about the progress the country has made in promoting gender
equality," Jeannette Hern, partner and corporate finance
head at Johannesburg-based Grant Thornton, said on Thursday.
The research is contained in the 2012 Grant Thornton
International Business Report (IBR), which surveys trends in privately held
businesses in 40 economies around the world.
The global average for women in senior management positions
Hern said this figure has changed little in the past five
"We need more innovative solutions in order to make a
significant dent in the number of women still excluded from senior
management," she said.
In 2007, 29% of senior management positions were held by
This dropped to 28% in 2009 and 27% in 2011.
Hern said possible solutions could include finding more
creative ways to accommodate women in the workplace.
"Only 39% of the women surveyed in South Africa
indicated that their businesses offer flexible working conditions such as
flexible hours and alternative locations to work from," she said.
She believed business needs to consider women for a greater
spectrum of management roles.
Most women in senior management are either human resource
directors (20%) or finance directors (also 20%), the research found.
Of those surveyed, only 8% of CEOs and 9% of chief operating
officers (COOs) were women.
Hern said this was a marked improvement from last year's
results, when only 3% of women held these positions.
The global average for women CEOs was 9% and for
COOs 12%, Grant Thornton said.
Regionally, Gauteng had the highest proportion of women in
senior management at 30%.
It was followed by Cape Town and the Eastern Cape with 28%
KwaZulu-Natal lagged with 25% of women in senior management.
Gauteng also had the highest proportion of women CEOs at
The Eastern Cape had 4.2% of women in CEO positions.
Gauteng also had the highest proportion of businesses
offering flexible working conditions, the research showed.
G7 countries are behind the global average, with only 18% of
women in senior management positions.
Russia has the highest proportion of women in senior
management positions at 46%.
Botswana is the African country with the highest proportion
of women in senior management at 39%.
South Africa's average of 28% is slightly ahead of the Bric
(Brazil, Russia, India and China) group of emerging economies with an average
of 26% women in senior management, the survey found.