Devan Moonsamy 

Over the years it was acceptable for men to earn more than woman. It has only recently become normal for woman to hold positions previously held by men. But are women remunerated the same way as their male counterparts? 

The gender wage gap has become a sore topic over the years. An article published in the Mail and Guardian quoted a report that PricewaterhouseCoopers released indicating that only 5% of chief executives are women and the gender pay is most pronounced in the JSE-listed companies. 

The article further spoke about the report that tracked executive director trends in 285 companies and it found that there only 81 women executives making the 725 people whose pay was analysed.  

A report that was released by the World Economic Forum in March also explored how it will take 135.6 years to close the gender wage gap worldwide. The report also looked at how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the remuneration of woman and how it opened gaps that had been closed. 

The sad reality is that regardless of how far we might travel in terms of facilitating the change in the work place, we will always be behind unless society changes its view of the working woman. 

Many women in management also express concern about how their male counterparts do not express the same amount of respect as they would to a male in the same position. This indicates a bigger society issue in terms of the respect we feel we owe to woman in power. 

Since we are on the topic of gender roles how about discussing how toxic the thinking is that woman are specifically only employable for certain roles.

Take the receptionist of an office as an example, for years this position has been filled by females based on specific requirements which at point was attractiveness but what happens now as we progress and need to employ people from all communities. That means woman in hijab or other cultural attire to individuals from the LGBTQI+ community and people with disabilities? 

There is no way we can continue operating a business as we did since the dawn of time. It is imperative to initiate change not just in the organization but in our mindset as well. We have to engage with problematic staff members about their resistance to embrace change. We can’t expect to progress as a business and close the gender wage gap if we can’t get our ducks in a row when it comes to addressing the need for gender equality in the work space. 

This women’s day let us reflect on the way our business operates and engage with our female staff to see how we can better their experience. Many are victims to sexual harassment and isolation due to the bullying from male colleagues. Engagement will allow for smooth flow. 

Men might feel left out and they could feel frustrated by the preferential treatment of female staff but remind them that while they were off building an empire these females were fighting generational tie downs that prevented them from progressing.

Another point of concern in the office is how female staff need time off to do things for their families and this does become a topic of discussion by colleagues who feel they don’t get the same opportunities. 

Before we criticise how female counterparts are always having to take off work to see to their sick children or needing a day off to go to a child’s school event remember that the only reason as a working man you might be free from this stereotype is because there is a female at home making sure your children are taken care off while you at work.  

As we start evolving our workplaces to work remotely and staff to be more independent and not micromanaged lets initiate a change of mindset around the gender issues our offices are crippled with.

Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute, a South African TVET College. He is the author of Racism, Classism, Sexism, And The Other ISMs That Divide Us, AND My Leadership Legacy Journal available from the ICHAF Training Institute. 

The ICHAF Training Institute offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.

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