Where are all the women?
Yep, it’s Women’s Month. Bet you didn’t know. Jokes. But let’s take a moment to look deeper into just one of the (many) gender issues facing South Africa.
For starters, why are we still talking about gender parity in the workplace? It’s 2022. Women formally entered the economy over a hundred years ago, but continue to face under-representation when it comes to pay, seniority, and managerial roles.
In South Africa:
- Women make up only 33.1% of managerial positions, yet 42.1% of households are headed by women (StatsSA).
- 56.2% of women are discouraged from participating in the labour market (StatsSA).
- 52.8% of women say their salaries are determined by their employers, not by industry standards (StatsSA).
- Only 45.8% of women receive pension contributions from their employers, compared to 51.3% of men (StatsSA).
- 89% of men are entitled to paternity leave, compared to 76.8% of women entitled to maternity leave (Excuse us… What?!) (StatsSA).
- The gender pay gap for doing the same work is 23% to 35% (IOL), depending on which stats you consider.
Let’s briefly look at an egg
Yes, an egg. You know: the ovoid object produced by chickens? The one that either incubates a living organism or is cooked? That egg.
The inner slimy part of the egg comprises a yolk (the yellow) and an egg white (the transparent part that turns white when heated). As a food source, the yolk is more acidic and richer in certain nutrients, while the egg white is more alkaline and richer in other nutrients. These two elements are attached, but each plays a different role when separated. And what do eggs have to do with gender parity? Well…
Men and women are like eggs
Both men and women emerge from the womb of a female ancestor and are tied together in society (you can choose whether women are the yolks or the whites). While they differ in many ways, including managerial styles, reactions, traits, and behaviours, neither one is ineffective as a function of the other. Both are needed, or you are without a complete egg. And with that, equity joins the breakfast table…
Equity is about being recognised for doing the same thing differently, yet successfully, and receiving equal opportunities because of the successful result.
The role of market research (MR)
Here are just 5 things we’ve uncovered with market research over the years:
- Manager sensitivity: Women say they are more likely to be understood by other women, so try to have a female (or five) at the decision-making table.
- In-depth analysis: When you understand your customers better, including how they use products, their service expectations, who the household decision-makers are, etc., you’re able to change the game in terms of what you deliver.
- Speaking the language: Make sure you understand and align with the unique communication preferences, styles and norms of your audience.
- Persona practice: Marketing strategies shouldn’t be cookie-cutter. Create research-based personas to identify where your product or service fits best.
- What you know: Ensure that your research is clear, equitable, and accurate to eliminate gender biases. Or ask the pros to do your MR; we’re really good at it!