Bonang Matheba has always held issues around gender equality and female empowerment close to her heart. Over the years she has spearheaded numerous initiatives to support this agenda.
The Media personality, entrepreneur and philanthropist recently appeared at the third annual Procter and Gamble (P&G) and UN Women #WeSeeEqual Gender Equality Summit, which was held virtually for the first time this year. Other guests included Anita Bhatia, UN Women deputy executive director as well as Indra Nooyi, former chief executive officer and chairman of PepsiCo.
Built on the theme ‘#Unsaid and #Undone’, the summit brought together leading voices on gender equality to challenge the current discourse and commit to the actions needed for progress.
Matheba delivered a powerful talk at the summit around ‘The Power of Your Voice’. Using her experiences, she shared insights around leveraging your voice in the advertising and media space to reach millions of people, challenge rigid gender roles and empower both men and women. She also took part in a live virtual panel targeted at P&G South Africa staff alongside Vilo Trska, P&G vice president Southern Africa and Cassie Jaganyi, P&G corporate affairs and citizenship lead for Southern Africa.
In her talk she urged her peers to lead by example. ‘’By achieving my own entrepreneurial goals, I hope to inspire others to further change and shape the industry. And by focusing on philanthropy, I hope to pave the way for more people to create opportunities for women.’’
Matheba’s key insights
- Key players in the media arena have a responsibility to use their voices to present the facts. To be reasonable and reassuring. To avoid creating hype and to craft a narrative that heals and prompts cooperative action.
- Those privileged to have a significant audience need to use their influence for good. ‘We can now reach millions with a single social media post. Let us be mindful of the narrative we put out there.’
- In leveraging the power of our voices, we need to call out the establishment for societal change, demand better from those in charge by holding them accountable and pay tribute to those who are leading justly and well.
- We need diverse opinions to be able to excel in our watchdog role. To be fully representative of the country we live in.
- In terms of diversity and gender parity, while we have made good progress. It is wonderful to see women, especially black women, taking ownership of their space.
- I would like to see more women equipped with the right tools and knowledge to negotiate deals in the media space. To see more women become media platform owners, rather than just content producers.
- Beyond being perceived as nurturers to our families – as important as this is – women are increasingly being portrayed as individuals with the capacity and talent to achieve.
- As grass roots level, we must ensure all our children receive a good education that instils a strong sense of confidence. We need to actively encourage young women to see our industry as a viable career option.
- We also need to introduce transformation programmes in media companies to afford more women the opportunity to be in positions of authority traditionally held by men.
She emphasised that young African women, especially, need to see that through hard work and education, it is possible to change one’s circumstances. Her advice to young girls and women is that there are no short cuts. To succeed you must be prepared to invest the time to equip yourself with the knowledge that enables you to become a master in your craft.
Matheba’s statements were on point for P&G who, as one of the world’s largest advertisers, commits to continue to leverage its influential voice in media and advertising to drive further awareness, tackle gender bias, spark conversations and motivate change.
During the course of the summit, P&G President for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Magesvaran Suranjan, announced P&G’s latest declarations across the region, which included introducing P&G’s new ‘Share the Care’ paternity leave policy (which includes eight weeks paid paternity leave) and a commitment to achieving a 50-50 gender balance across its management workforce across the region by the end of 2022. P&G is also committed to spending a cumulative total of $200 million US dollars by deliberately working with women-owned businesses across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region, by 2025.
Locally, P&G South Africa updated its current commitments to include reaching 125 000 girls by 2025 through the Always Keeping Girls In School initiative, which offers menstruation education and products.
Follow the conversation on @PGSouthAfrica #UnSaidUnDone, #WeSeeEqual
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.