Above: Dr Melodi Botha and the women leaders from The Presidency on the first day of the Women in Leadership programme.
What may well have been one of the biggest coordinated demonstrations of those times, the 1956 Women’s March gave birth to the day we now celebrate as National Women’s Day. Over 20 000 women came together to make a bold statement which is still relevant today – the rights of women for a non-racist and non-sexist world matter.
24 years since the celebration of the first National Women’s Day and despite women making up the majority of the population, it is disheartening to see that women are still largely underrepresented in the upper echelons of leadership. With gender inequality still prevalent in the workplace, the need has never been greater to create, develop and foster a culture of potent and influential female leaders.
Studies show that only 5% of CEOs in Africa comprise women. Enterprises University of Pretoria (Enterprises UP) has developed the Women in Leadership Programme as concerted effort to give female leaders the tools that they needed to stand out as worthy contenders for management roles within their organisations.
The latest intake of the programme started classes on 5 August 2019 and saw a delegation of diverse female leaders from The Presidency. This highly interactive programme is led by Dr Melodi Botha who is passionate about the programme’s ability to create dynamic, self-aware female leaders. “We have a responsibility to educate and train future leaders. In the past, women didn’t get the opportunity to be in leadership positions. Now that we have these prospects, some women still lack the skills to function optimally in leadership roles. Through this programme, we aim to give women new tools and strategies to be dynamic managers. We will also teach them that there are varying leadership styles necessitated by unique scenarios that they will face”, Dr Botha explained.
The 2006 winner of the Best Paper at the International Entrepreneurship Conference, Dr Botha heads this programme which is presented by all-women lecturers. Her profound understanding of the struggles facing women in the business world led Dr Botha to create and champion the Women Entrepreneurship Programme (known as WEP) at the University of Pretoria (UP). WEP has culminated in the capacitation of over 150 female entrepreneurs. An NRF C-rated scientist, Dr Botha has a sterling record in the research and practice of business management. In addition to her professional research, she has contributed to numerous international articles and conference papers.
With unlimited access to some of the greatest minds from UP, Enterprises UP has the privilege to work with many such outstanding female researchers and practitioner across a multitude of industry fields. This Women’s Month, we celebrate all women in leadership and those who aspire to get there.