Annual awards seek to reward organisations at the forefront of mainstreaming gender
Call for nominations for the 9th Gender Mainstreaming Awards 2021 sponsored by
Accenture, Absa and Barloworld
JOHANNESBURG_19 April 2021: The Gender Mainstreaming Awards (GMA) are back in 2021
with the aim, once again, to reward organisations and individuals that are at the forefront and
are advancing the business case for gender diversity in Africa. The awards are set to take place
throughout Africa on 9 September 2021.
Over the past eight years in which the awards have been in existence, they have proven to be
the perfect platform for sharing stories, strategies and facilitating the conversation for
organisations to participate and share best practice in corporate gender intelligence.
An initiative of Business Engage, this year’s 9th GMA ceremony follows hot on the heels of a
highly successful first ever virtual ceremony held in 2020, which was watched by over 2000
attendees across the continent despite a raging pandemic.
“The year 2020 brought with it some unprecedented changes the world over and as with every
industry, we had no choice but to quickly adapt. So, we made the decision that global lockdowns
or not, the Gender Mainstreaming Awards experience must never stop”, says Colleen Larsen,
Chief Executive of Business Engage and President of the 30% Club East and Southern Africa.
Business Engage is calling for nominations from companies that have developed initiatives and
are making strides to accelerate diversity with an emphasis on gender mainstreaming. For
company nominations there are various categories; these include Women on Boards Award,
Equal Representation & Participation Award, Women Empowerment in the Workplace Award,
Investing in Young Women Award and Mainstreaming Gender & Disability Award, to name a
There are also two individual categories, the Inclusive Leader Award and the Positive Role
“This year the GMAs are seeking to celebrate companies in Africa and we have selected some
of the most prominent business leaders who are an excellent representation of what the awards
stand for to be judges in the different regions”, comments Larsen.
The sponsors for the 2021 awards, who are themselves making major contributions in their
respective industries towards gender mainstreaming are Accenture (naming rights sponsor),
ABSA and Barloworld.
Ntombi Mhangwani, Experience Architect & Lead Women’s Forum at Accenture Interactive
Africa says: “The impact of COVID-19 will continue to allow societies to be less equal, more
divided and poorer if they are left unattended. It is therefore important to recognise – through
initiatives such as Gender Mainstreaming Awards – women as equal partners and key actors in
the economy. Leaders should also see the pandemic as an opportunity to reset the economy by
planning a recovery based on the principle of inclusiveness. At Accenture, we are continuously
striving to become a more inclusive and diverse company across all levels.”
“According to The Africa Report, women drive 70% of consumer spend, and the global GDP
could rise by 3% if the gender disparity gap can be closed. Women are accelerators and
companies that continue to exclude women in decision- making processes, will miss out on
business opportunities unlocked by gender-balanced teams.” says Busisiwe Sithole, Head of
Transformation, Diversity & Inclusion at Absa Group. “Women leadership cannot continue to be
a ‘nice-to-have’ for business, and we are proud to be associated with the 2021 Gender
Mainstreaming Awards, recognising companies that have actively worked towards gender
diversity at all levels. As a proudly African financial services provider, Absa Group currently
impacts the lives of tens of thousands of people on the continent who live, work and run
businesses in the diverse communities we serve. One of our top priorities is gender diversity
and inclusion, which is brought to life by our Group Women Manifesto – supported by the UN
Global Compact – which clearly articulates the strategic direction we are taking to ensure that
women, throughout the Absa value chain, thrive and their possibilities are brought to life. If we
can achieve this goal of promoting gender parity in Africa, it will be one of our greatest
achievements as a key player on the continent we call home.”
Tantaswa Fubu, Group Executive: Human Capital, Barloworld says, “At Barloworld, we believe
that as a responsible and responsive corporate, it is our duty and responsibility to ensure that
the demographics of our country are reflected in the people of Barloworld, especially at the
senior levels. It is for this reason that we have been taking and continue to take deliberate
actions to redress the past, ensuring that we have amazing women at senior leadership. We
believe that women are not merely to be accommodated but should own the spaces where they
choose to ply their skills at. We encourage other corporates to go beyond the regulatory
requirements because when we empower women, we fundamentally change our societies for
There is no cost to submitting an application and all applications can be done on the Gender
Mainstreaming Awards website.
Entries close on 31 May 2021 and the awards ceremony will take place virtually on 09
September 2021. To submit your nomination and to be part of the virtual awards ceremony go to
For updates and to join the conversation visit the Business Engage social media pages below:
https://www.facebook.com/genderawards / https://www.facebook.com/BusinessEngage
https://twitter.com/GenderAwardsSA / https://twitter.com/BusinessEngage
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of
services in strategy and consulting, interactive, technology and operations, with digital
capabilities across all of these services. We combine unmatched experience and specialised
capabilities across more than 40 industries — powered by the world’s largest network of
Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations Centres. With 513 000 people serving clients
in more than 120 countries, Accenture brings continuous innovation to help clients improve their
performance and create lasting value across their enterprises. Visit us at www.accenture.com.
About Business Engage
Business Engage Association NPC is a non-profit company established in 2005. It is an exciting
and inventive organisation at the forefront of strategic thinking on gender mainstreaming in the
private sector. It is a collaborative of corporates working together to create the business case for
gender diversity. Business Engage is the custodian of the 30% Club Southern and East Africa.
30% Club is an international group of Chairmen, CEOs, senior executives and senior partners of
private sector and state-owned organisations that are publicly committed to achieving and
sustaining at least 30% women on boards within a designated period because they believe it is
good for the overall effectiveness of the boardroom – and therefore good for business. Focus is
also placed on the pipeline development to create sustainable change.