PPC Ltd’s fourth annual Women’s Forum was hosted in Johannesburg on 13 August 2015. Themed “African women united for a united Africa”, the programme featured a line-up of keynote speakers including Member of Board of Directors for Aspen Care, Dr Judy Dlamini and PPC Ltd CEO, Darryll Castle – and was designed to drive big business to take action on gender equality.
“The conference is a core means of delivering on the vision of the PPC’s Women’s Forum,” explains Tryphosa Ramano, PPC CFO and Women’s Forum Chairperson. “As the women of PPC, we launched the forum in 2011 in order to facilitate dialogue among ladies in the company, as well as drive gender transformation in the industry as a key business imperative. Using platforms such as the conference, the forum additionally acts as a vehicle for distinguished leaders to empower, share and inspire women beyond their own environments.”
As a woman working in a largely male-dominated sector, Ramano is a proponent of mentorship and meaningful empowerment, seeing this as a key means of driving real transformation in the workplace: “By sharing skills, expertise and insights as mentors, each of us can become a catalyst for change – helping to enable women professionals and entrepreneurs to not only grow our industry but indeed, economy.”
She adds that it is equally important to highlight the value and contribution that women can make to their organisations using opportunities like the conference to compel South African and African businesses leaders to rethink their approach to women – and see them as a critical asset.
As PPC Chairman and a keynote speaker Bheki Sibiya also emphasised the importance of gender transformation in the private sector. “While Government has created policies that provide women and men with equal access to opportunities, companies need to be ensuring that this gender equality is realised and that women are able to reach their full potential. This is especially true in sectors such as ours which are still male-dominated and male-oriented in terms of their business practices,” says Sibiya.
With over 300 attendees at the event – some from as far afield as PPC’s subsidiaries in Rwanda and the DRC, Ramano says the event was a memorable one.