Cape Town, 05 June 2015 – “Men of quality are not afraid of equality”, was one of the key messages from Dr Auxilia Ponga, Representative of UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office at the Global Shapers Community “Women in Business” dinner held in Cape Town last night.
An initiative of the World Economic Forum, the Global Shapers Community is a network of world-wide Hubs developed and led by exceptional young people who are making a contribution to their communities. The Coca-Cola Company is one of the founding Global Shapers Community Partners.
One of the Global Shapers, Ms Rosalin Kyere-Nartey from Ghana, moderated a lively panel discussion that Dr Ponga was part of, along with Dr Susan Mboya, Group Director, Women’s Economic Empowerment, EAG at The Coca-Cola Company and President of the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation and Maserame Mouyeme, Franchise General Manager for the Central Africa Region at The Coca-Cola Company.
“Men need to play a role in building women’s economic empowerment in Africa,” said Dr Ponga. “Men need to be supportive of women’s success and recognise that women are strong enough to play a role at home, in the community and in the workplace.”
“Culture is dynamic and on the African continent where there are so many traditional expectations of women, we need to reflect on how our culture is changing. Yes we should respect the past but we should also embrace the future.”
Close to 100 members of the Global Shapers community, from 40 countries around the world, were at the event, which was part of the activities for the Global Shapers delegation at the World Economic Forum on Africa being held this week
The panel discussion covered a broad range of topics including what drives these women leaders and what they see as the characteristics of women leaders. In spite of their different career paths, it was clear the women had much in common – a confidence in the power of education, a natural curiosity and hunger for continual learning in their own lives and a belief that gender equality is common sense.
“ Whether at home by contributing to household chores or at work by mentoring women colleagues, men have an important part to play in women’s economic empowerment,” concluded Dr Ponga. Dr Ponga’s message clearly resonated with some men in the room who were later photographed holding HeForShe signs as part of UN Women’s global HeForShe campaign.