Transformative Interventions Fostering Mainstreaming of Black South African Women into Managerial Positions in the Private Sector

Open access


In South Africa, progressive laws, policies and institutions established since 1996 seek to proliferate the representation of black African women in the private sector. However, the sector remains stagnant in giving opportunities to black African women to attain and occupy managerial and leadership positions. Black African women are not yet accepted as an integral of part of decision-making in the private sector contrary to the public sector that has somewhat progressed to place black African women in key decision-making positions in government. Consequently, black African women in the private sector predominately dominate the unskilled labour positions. The underrepresentation of black African women essentially denies them of economic participation and equality in the workplace. It is against the backdrop of this underrepresentation that this article analyses salient transformative legislative interventions that have been put in place to foster ample representation of black African women into managerial positions in the private sector. However, the concern is that the current legislative framework in South Africa does not explicitly make it mandatory for the private sector to achieve a specific target of black African women representation at the top management positions. The article showcases that the glass ceiling in the private sector is real and is nurtured by the organizational culture, policies and strategies which promote exclusion. Therefore, effective implementation and enforcement of laws and policies fostering mainstreaming of black African women into top managerial positions will help in breaking down the glass-ceiling. This will become realizable with the cooperation of all stake holders and role players where there is deliberate effort to empower and enhance the skill and capacity of women through quality training and education that will drive and deliver robust career development.

Acker, J. (2006). Inequality regimes: Gender, class, and race in organizations, available at accessed on 10 June 2018.

AFSD. (2015). 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015.

ANC, (1980). African National Congress. Effects of Apartheid on the Status of Women in South Africa available at accessed on 02 February 2018.

Anderson, D. Anderson, L.A. (2010). Beyond change management: How to achieve breakthrough results through conscious change leadership available at, accessed on 10 June 2018. available at accessed on 9 June 2018.

Barak, M.E.M. (2016). Managing diversity: Toward a globally inclusive workplace, available at accessed on 9 June 2018.

Barnard v South African Police Services (2014) (6) SA 123 (CC).

Bezuidenhout, A. Bischoff, B. S. Lewins, K. (2008). Tracking Progress on the implementation and impact of the employment Equity Act since inception, available at accessed on 31 March 2018.

Bhorat, H. Cassim, A. & Tseng, D. (2016). Higher Education, employment and economic growth: Exploring the interactions, available at accessed on 20 June 2018.

Black Sash (1978). Survey on black women in employment in a number of Pinetown factories, conference paper at the Black Sash National Conference on 14 March 1978, available at accessed on 21 March 2018.

Booysen, L. (2007). Barriers to employment equity implementation and retention of blacks in management in South Africa, South African Journal of Labour Relations 31(1):47-71.

CEE. (2016). Commission for Employment Equity, Annual report 2016/2017, available at accessed on 29 January 2018.

CGE. (1996). The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) was established in 1996.

CIPD, (2016). Charted Institute of Personnel and Development why are there so few women at the top: Submission to the Women and Equalities Select Committee, April 2016 at available at accessed on 31 March 2018.

Chowan v Associated Motor Holdings (Pty) Ltd and Others (22142/16) [2018] ZAGPJHC 40 (23 March 2018).

Mathur-Helm, B. (2006). Women and the glass ceiling in South African banks: an illusion or reality? available at, accessed on 11 December 2017.

Currie, I. & De Waal, J. (2013). The Bill of Rights Handbook, 6th Edition Juta Publishers.

Dhlamini, L. (2017). Integrating agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into regional and national development plans and strategies, available at, accessed on 1 January 2018.

DoE. (2017). Department of Energy South Africa, Minister Kubayi congratulates newly appointed BP Southern Africa CEO-Ms Priscillah Mabelane, Media statement issued on 30 August 2017, available at, accessed on 31 March 2018.

Dupper, O. (2006). Affirmative Action in South Africa:(M) Any Lessons for Europe? Law and Politics in Africa, Asia and Latin America, 39(2):138-164.

Erasmus, B. Swanepoel, B. & Schenk, H. (2005). South African human resource management for the public sector. Available at accessed on 10 June 2018.

Fineman, M.A. (2010). The vulnerable subject: Anchoring equality in the human condition-Transcending the Boundaries of Law, available at accessed on 9 June 2018.

Fraser v Children’s Court, Pretoria North (1997) (2) SA 261 (CC).

Gonzalez, A. (2015). In 155 countries women still face legal discrimination: the consequences are huge, available at accessed on 9th February 2018. accessed on 9 June 2018.

Hammond, T. BM Clayton, B.M. & Arnold, P.J. (2009). South Africa’s transition from apartheid: The role of professional closure in the experiences of black chartered accountants. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 34(6-7):705-721.

IL0 2017. International Labour Organization, Definition of Gender Mainstreaming, available at accessed on 9 June 2018.

Jain, H.C. Sloane, P. & Horwitz, F. (2015). Employment Equity and Affirmative Action: An International Comparison: An International Comparison, available at accessed on 10 June 2018.

Juggernath, S, & Rampersad, R. (2011). Corporate responsibility for socio-economic transformation: A focus on broad-based black economic empowerment and its implementation in South Africa, available at;jsessionid=2b8ce054ed553954d423888b06bc77b6.i-050821f3bd19644fa accessed on 16 December 2017.

Khanyile, C.C. Nzukuma, M.B. (2011). Job-hopping amongst African Black senior management in South Africa, available at accessed on 10 June 2018.

Lues, L. The History of Professional African Women: A South African Perspective. Interim: Interdisciplinary Journal, 2005 vol. 4(1):103-123.

Malinga B. (2016). Women’s empowerment and gender mainstreaming in post-apartheid South Africa: an analysis of governmental policy frameworks and practices. available at accessed on 21 April 2018.

Mello, D.M. & Phago, K. (2007). Affirming Women in Managerial Positions in the South African Service, Politia, 26(2):145-158.

Mlambo-Ngcuka, P. (2017). Constructive Impatience for Change, Speech delivered at the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, available at, accessed on 1st January 2018.

Mofokeng, N.M.E. (2017). Black economic empowerment and local economic development in the accommodation sector: The case of Clarens, in the Free State Province, available at on 10 June 2018.

Morrell, R. Jewkes, R. & Lindegger, G. (2012). Hegemonic masculinity/masculinities in South Africa: Culture, power, and gender politics - Men and Masculinities, 2012 available at accessed on 9 June 2018.

Mparadzi, A. (2014). BEE-Basis, Evolution, Evaluation-A Critical Appraisal of black economic empowerment in South Africa, available at accessed on 10 June 2018.

Nagan, S. (2014). The experiences of black and white female headteachers in South African schools,2014 available at http://hdl.handle.net10539/14207 accessed on 9 June 2018.

Naidoo, V. (2007). Has Affirmative Action Reached South African Women? available at accessed on 10 June 2018.

Ndzwayiba, N. (2012). Challenges of transformation managers in corporate South Africa, available at accessed on 1 March 2018.

Ngcobo, T. & Tikly, L.P. (2010). Key dimensions of effective leadership for change: A focus on township and rural schools in South Africa, available at accessed on 9 June 2018.

Nienaber, H. (2007). Assessing the management status of South Africa, European Business Review, 19(1):72-88.

Nolde, J. (1991). South African Women under apartheid: Employment rights, with particular Focus on Domestic service and forms of resistance to promote change, Third World Legal Studies, 10:211-212.

Nonaka, I. (2008). The knowledge-creating company, available at accessed on 9 June 2018.

Okun, A.M. (2015). Equality and efficiency: The big trade-off, available at accessed on 10 June 2018.

Oosthuizen, R.M. & Naidoo, V. (2010). Attitudes towards and experience of employment equity, SA Journal of Industrial Psychology 36(1):1-9.

Padayanchie, M. (2011). Gender Mainstreaming in the South African Public Service, available at accessed on 23 March 2018.

Ponte, S. Roberts, S. & Van Sittert, L. (2007). Black economic empowerment’, business and the state in South Africa, available at, accessed on 10 June 2018

Quanson, L. (2014). Gender transformation in the work place and the role of trade unions in South Africa: A case study of rand water., available at accessed on 9 June 2018.

Queisser, M. (2016). Gender Equality and the Sustainable Development Goals, OECG Insights Debate Issues, available at accessed on 1 January 2018.

Richter, L. Norris, S. Pettifor, J. & Yach, D. (2007). Cohort profile: Mandela’s children: the 1990 Birth to Twenty study in South Africa, International Journal of Epidemiology, 36(3):504-511.

Rosa, S. (2017). The Means and the ends of Justice, The interaction between socio-economic rights and administrative justice in A South African democratic developmental state, available at accessed on 10 June 2018.

Slater, J. (2014). The ethical demise of the political policy of affirmative action as a motive for enhancing women and education in South Africa: A double setback of a reverse strategy, available at accessed on 29 January 2018.

Solidarity and others v Department of Correctional Services and Others 2016 (5) SA 594 (CC).

Savitz, A. (2013). The triple bottom line: how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success-and how you can too, available at accessed on 9 December 2017.

SSA, 2015. Statistics South Africa, Millennium Development Goals 3: Promote gender equality and empower women 2015 available at accessed on 31st March 2018.

SSA. (2011). Statistics South Africa, Gender Statistics in South Africa, 2011, available on accessed on 6 February 2018.

SSA. 2017. Statistics South Africa, Mid-year population estimates,2017, available at accessed on 9th February 2018.

Tafirenyika, E.T. (2016). Decent work: the promotion of equal treatment and opportunity in the South African workforce with regards to gender, available at accessed on 9 June 2018.

Toonnies, F. (2012). Community and society, available at accessed on 9 June 2018.

UN Women (2010). UN Women is an organization established during July 2010 by UN General Assembly resolution 64/289. UN women is dedicated to gender equality and empowerment of women, available at accessed on 23 January 2018.

Journal Information


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 42 42 13
PDF Downloads 34 34 10