Standard Bank Continues to champion gender equality in Africa

Johannesburg – 08 March 2019 – As part of its commitment to gender equality Standard Bank will make a bold statement on International Women’s Day by changing the colour of its logos on the vast majority of its digital platforms from blue to magenta, the same colour as the UN Women HeForShe brand.

With this, Standard Bank reconfirms its commitment to bring about tangible change in line with the United Nations (UN) Women HeForShe initiative, which encourages men to stand alongside women in the global quest for gender equality. As the only corporate headquartered in Africa to become a thematic champion, Standard Bank will be driving the movement across the 20 African markets, as well as the locations outside of Africa, in which it has an operational presence.

“Achieving gender equity is not only a fundamental human right but a business imperative,” says Standard Bank Group, Chief Executive Sim Tshabalala. “Women embody half the world’s talent, skill and energy - and more than half of its purchasing power. Every sensible business leader must be committed to achieving gender equity in their company and to contribute to this cause in the societies in which they operate,” says Mr Tshabalala.

Created in 2014 by UN Women, the HeForShe solidarity movement has gained momentum, driving citizens worldwide to become change agents. A unique feature of HeForShe is that it actively invites men and women across the world to stand together as equal partners in order to craft a shared vision of gender equality by enabling locally relevant solutions that empower women for the good of society.

“We can only drive Africa’s growth if we play our part in ensuring that the rights of women and girls receive equal treatment and attention,” says Mr Tshabalala. “In the corporate world, that also means that we must create an enabling environment, free from bias, in which women are able to advance and succeed on the basis of merit and ability.”

Standard Bank’s partnership with HeForShe was announced on 26 September 2018 at a UN Women event that ran in parallel with the UN General Assembly in New York.

The bank has also set itself the goals of increasing the representation of women in executive positions to 40% by 2021 in its South African operations and by 2023 for the group as a whole. Standard Bank also aims to enhance the representation of women on its board from 22% (2018) to 33% by 2021 while doubling the number of female Chief Executives in its Rest of Africa operations from 10% (2018) to 20% by 2021.

“We recognise that it is unnatural and unsustainable to have a gender imbalance in our leadership and as a man leading an organisation which seeks to grow in Africa, I know it is imperative to address this,” said Mr Tshabalala. “Although we have made strides, we continue to aim to achieve parity in leadership and executive positions across our operations through fair and unbiased hiring practices. We remain committed to developing and implementing enabling workplace polices, and ensuring that women have access to appropriate development and leadership opportunities.”

As part of Standard Bank’s HeForShe commitment the group will be supporting targeted UN Women social initiatives in Nigeria, Uganda, Malawi and South Africa, focused on the economic empowerment of women by “Increasing productivity and access to market of women through climate smart agriculture in Africa”.

“Standard Bank remains committed to building a diverse workforce and to continuously addressing inequality on all levels,” said Mr Tshabalala. “This is an intrinsic part of our endeavour to live up to our purpose “Africa is our home, we drive her growth.”

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