The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) on Friday congratulated veteran business executive Nonkululeko Nyembezi for being appointed as the first black woman chairperson of Alexander Forbes in its 82-year history.
This comes after the South African financial services group on Wednesday announced Nyembezi’s appointment as the new independent non-executive chairman with effect from 1 January 2018.
Nyembezi is currently the independent non-executive chairman of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), and a non-executive director of Old Mutual plc. She is also chief executive of Ichor Coal, an international mining company operating in the thermal coal industry in South Africa.
The CGE said that Nyembezi’s appointment, and that of others who have recently been appointed in the banking sector, academia, government, and the judiciary, would serve as an inspiration for other women provided that similar opportunities are made available by both the private and public sector.
“The Gender Commission believes through these groundbreaking appointments, these women would use their position to ensure that gender responsive budgets are made available in order to pave the way for other women to be empowered and succeed,” said the CGE.
“The CGE hopes that they will channel most of their corporate social investments to cooperatives, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), civil society organisations (CSOs) that are women-run.”
The Gender Commission said it was of the view that women in leadership should also seek to uplift fellow women in both the informal sector of the economy and those that are trapped in the abject poverty staying in informal settlements.
The CGE also said it would always give the necessary advice and encouragement to corporate and other entities to sustain the momentum towards gender transformation and women’s empowerment in South Africa.
“It is our belief that other women, in particularly girl children, will look at the appointment of Ms Nyembezi and other women who have ascended the positions of authority not as a fulfillment of a dream for them, but a constant reminder that they too can do just that, if not more.”