17 September 2014

Launch of the 30% Club Southern Africa will assist gender-mainstreaming in the business world.

Submitted by Colleen Larsen

Southern Africa’s very own 30% Club is now a reality, following a launch at a special event in Sandton on 11 September.

The launch was held in association with UK Trade & Investment at a private dinner, with Guest of Honour, Baroness Patricia Scotland, the British Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to South Africa.   The 30% Club - initially a UK initiative - is now an international grouping of chairmen, CEOs and senior partners of private sector organisations that are committed to bringing more women onto the boards of directors. This is done because they believe it is good for the overall effectiveness of the boardroom, which translates into it being good for business.

The 30% Club is present in Hong Kong, Kenya, USA, Ireland and now Southern Africa. Clubs in Australia and Canada are launching this year.    The Club itself takes its name from the fact that 30% is the widely-suggested proportion required for the contributions of a member of a minority group to become valued in their own right, rather than merely as representatives of that group.  

Colleen Larsen, President of the 30% Club Southern Africa commented “The launch of the 30% Club in Southern Africa represents the culmination of two years worth of hard work by Business Engage, the Southern African custodians of this global organisation, to convince enough leaders to follow the ever growing tide of enlightened businesses that are seeing the business case for having increased gender diversity at director and senior management level. It is part of a “quevolution” or a quick evolution in business, initially in South Africa. Those who are coming on board demonstrate their understanding of the change in how we will be doing business in the future, and not just because of any pending legislation.” 

Speaking at the dinner, British High Commissioner, Judith Macgregor said that she was delighted at the launch of Southern Africa's 30% Club.   “This launch comes in the same week when two very high profile women from the UK are visiting SA: namely the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Fiona Woolf and the Prime Minister's Special Trade Envoy for SA, Baroness Patricia Scotland,” says Macgregor.   “Many of their talks and contacts here have been with professional women in senior positions. I believe it is vital that women join together to remove the last vestiges of the glass ceiling and claim their place in the boardroom. The 30% Club will be a great spur to achieving this.” 

In its experiences elsewhere in the world, the 30% Club has found that companies are generally willing to share their experiences in such a collaborative manner, with the aim of collectively improving the retention of high potential women and in so doing, deepening the talent pool for all.   The 30% Club Southern Africa will adopt a collaborative approach, working closely with and obtaining support of leading businessmen and businesswomen in the region. Its partner, Business Engage, will assist in coordinating a range of pipeline development programmes, adding new ideas and encouraging companies to work together in this regard.   The Southern African chapter also plans to work with the relevant government and non-governmental entities. Moreover, it will be targeting both the executive search community and the investment community, driving forward targeted pipeline initiatives where the female attrition rate is identified as being acute.  

Baroness Patricia Scotland added that the launch of the Southern African 30% Club has brought to fruition an aspiration which was first formally expressed earlier this year, in celebration of International Women's Day.   “It is a demonstration of the energy and commitment of the Business Engage team, led so ably by Colleen Larsen, that they have achieved their goal of launching the initiative within six months.”   “I wish them well and I am sure that if the energy and dedication they have so far demonstrated is an indication of what they together will produce in the future, South Africa's private sector will be greatly enhanced,” concludes Baroness Scotland.    


Colleen Larsen
President: 30% Club Southern Africa
Cell: 084-353-9865
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Business Engage Association NPC

Business Engage is an exciting and inventive organisation at the forefront of strategic thinking on gender mainstreaming in the private sector.