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CAPE TOWN - Europ Assistance SA the most comprehensive Assistance Services Provider who is also the market leader in product offering and client base, Senior Executive Officer, Christelle Colman sheds her insight on the gender pay gap in SA.
 
She stated that she is often reminded of the gender pay gap which she thinks still remains a big issue not only in South Africa but also globally.
 
Colman made reference to a global report which was conducted by Accenture in 2016, this included South Africa and showed that for every $100 earned by a woman, $191 is earned by a man this is compared to the global $140.
 
“Over my years of experience as a CEO, both of a local business and now of the local arm of a global organisation, I have noticed how the majority of women in senior positions shy away from having the gender discussion. In the boardroom and workplace, they feel like they need to be more like men, almost genderless, so that they ‘fit in’,” Colman said.
 
“They do not acknowledge that as women we are different, many of us are working mothers and by its very nature we have different needs. And most importantly, it is our responsibility to continue the discussion about gender equality and to not only drive the change, but to be the change, we would like to see.”
 
‘It's a man’s world’
 
According to Colman, a recent report by PwC revealed that the top 40 Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed companies only one company had a female Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In Africa, only 5% of women hold this position, according to the 2016 Women Matter Africa report by McKinsey & Company.

“It is my opinion that one of the major reasons why there are so few women in leadership positions is because the business world is simply not designed to fulfill the needs of women throughout their different life stages. All things considered, it really is a man’s world.”

In support of Colman’s view, the Co-founders of Werk, Anna Auerbach and Annie Dean said “more than 30% of the most talented women leave the workforce entirely after having children, but 70% would have kept working if they had flexibility. This inspired them to create a company that aims to address the gender gap in the US workforce.”

In addition to closing the pay gap says that it is proven that gender diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to outperform their peers, this according to McKinsey & Company Report called ‘Why Diversity Matters’ which was published in 2015. 

Colman agrees with COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg who recently said that women need to stand up and own up and that they need to be the change that they want to see.

 
“I want to encourage every woman in a senior role to step up and help make the changes required to improve gender equality in the workplace,” Colman concluded.