International Women’s Day is a global day that was celebrated on March 8 to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and increase awareness of women’s equality and gender parity. The campaign theme chosen for this year’s International Women’s Day 2021 was “Choose to challenge – A world in trouble is a world on alert. And from the challenge comes change ”.
While progress has been made towards gender equality, organizations are still a long way from achieving gender parity in many sectors; and in particular in the field of technology. Achieving gender parity is important for economic growth and societal cohesion; and research shows that a balance between men and women in leadership roles boosts performance and helps create psychological security, unleashes innovation and promotes diversity of thinking. International Women’s Day promotes a call to action. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Economic Forum predicted that it would take another 257 years to close the current economic gender gap. Additional evidence shows that the socio-economic implications of COVID19 still have a disproportionate impact on women.
Following the events organized in 2020, ISACA’s South Africa section continued to demonstrate its commitment to International Women’s Day by organizing two professional forum meetings during March and April; featuring rising women and chapter leaders who are part of the community of women in tech. The aim of these events is to catalyze the Sheleadstech movement towards closing the economic gender gap, to encourage active dialogue; and highlight the benefits of having a diverse workforce that could inspire an active network of leaders and role models.
The first event, “Stay Positive and Live a Colorful Life”, took place on March 10, 2021 with Kgabo Ralebepa, ISACA South Africa Regional Director in Johannesburg, as the program coordinator. Opening remarks were given by ISACA South African Section President Ms. Arlene-Lynn Volmink. The keynote speaker was ISACA SA Young Professional of the Year 2020 recipient Candice Jackson of Mobius Consulting, who shared her thoughts on being a woman in a digital world. The first guest speaker, Kaylan Petersen, currently an IT auditor at Santam, shared her thoughts on cloud governance and risks. Our second guest speaker, Kholofelo Makula (ISACA / IIA Student Body President and Academic Tutor, Tshwane University of Technology) presented the importance of POPIA in the IT environment. The event brought together more than 150 delegates.
The second event took place on March 29, 2021 and was hosted by the Kwazulu-Natal Regional Committee of ISACA South Africa Section and attracted over 90 delegates. The first speaker, Sandika Daya (digital insurance, digital technology transformation and cybersecurity advisor), introduced the constantly evolving topic of “the digital transformation of the company and the role of internal audit”. She was followed by guest speaker Dr Trishana Ramluckan (Research Director, Educor Holdings and Honorary Fellow, (IHL), UKZN School of Law) who presented “The Implications of Net Neutrality: A Legal Approach”.
On April 14, 2021, a professional forum was organized by the Johannesburg Regional Committee and brought together more than 100 delegates. The agenda included guest speakers Tebello Mokhema (Business & Leadership Coach and Founder of Mozite Pty Ltd.) and Candice Jackson (Senior Managing Consultant at Mobius Consulting) who presented on Authentic Personal Leadership & To Know or Not to Know your external business partners!
Through its events and activities, ISACA’s South Africa chapter continues to help raise awareness and inspire change by addressing the under-representation of women in the tech industry and career paths. .
In addition to events organized by the South Africa Chapter of ISACA, Ms. Volmink participated in a “Resilient Leadership in Uncertainty” panel discussion alongside other women in tech in Africa. The event was organized by the ISACA Gabarone Chapter which was held on March 24, 2021 and featured fellow panelists Matshiiso Kereteletswe (COO at FNB Botswana), Chipo Majele (ISACA Lusaka Chapter President), Onalenna Giddie (Manager, IT Risk and Advisory at KPMG), Dorine Nalo (digital transformation consultant), Esther Yane (IT services manager at BIH). The round table was moderated by Segametsi Mafa (Founder and Managing Director, Service Xcellence). Ms Volmink made a closing comment to the discussion, saying, “This pandemic appears to be a lingering challenge for organizational leadership all over the world that speaks to our very existence – much larger than technology, it speaks to our humanity – our meaning in life, our need to heal and our survival. It calls for human-centered leadership. Regardless of your position, race, gender, title, you are a leader – and the world needs you to lead in your area of expertise and in your area of control, to lead you and lead others, and to lead by example – to act now and do your part to make the world a better place. “
The South Africa section of ISACA will host its second virtual conference from June 7-8, 2021, and the discussion on gender parity will continue with Ms. Jo Stewart-Rattray presenting on the theme “The Gender Perception Gap: diversity and inclusion in the Pandemic Times ”.
The section will also be hosting an upcoming One in Tech Sheleadstech event in August 2021 to celebrate National Women’s Day. Keep an eye on our events page for more details: https://engage.isaca.org/southafricachapter/events/recentcommunityeventsdashboard
The ISACA South Africa section team on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2021.
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