The 2021 Gender Mainstreaming Awards expand across Africa, attracting high profile adjudicators.

JOHANNESBURG, 06 July 2021: The 2021 Gender Mainstreaming Awards (GMAs) encourage a meaningful representation of women in the business. This year the awards have expanded beyond Southern Africa to East and West Africa. Awards entries from companies across the region highlight the growing demand and interest in progressing equality discussions, gender inclusion and diversity programmes into business activity and leadership on the continent.

The GMAs, now in their ninth year, encourage more meaningful representation of women in the mainstream of business. Developed by Business Engage, the GMAs are sponsored by Accenture, Absa and Barloworld, among others, and attract entries from JSE-listed, sector leading and government organisations. With expansion into the African region, the awards have attracted high-profile adjudicators.

“There is a solid business case for meaningful representation of women in the mainstream of business,” says Colleen Larsen, CE at Business Engage. “Gender balance on boards not only encourages better leadership and governance; diversity contributes to better all-round board performance, and ultimately increases corporate performance for both companies and their shareholders. This year, as the pandemic compels the GMAs to go virtual, thereby reaching a wider audience – an African audience that is very interested in progressing diversity and gender equality in the workplace.”

“One of the major misconceptions about gender mainstreaming is that it only benefits women – however, the data proves that this is incorrect,” says Ntombi Mhangwani, Associate Director at Accenture Interactive and Women’s Forum Lead for Accenture in Africa. “Our study shows that creating a culture of equality could unlock billions into SA’s GDP. American Express data reveals that the revenue of global women-owned companies increased to more than $1.9 trillion in 2019. S&P’s data further shows that companies could grow by 10 percent if they hire and promote more women. Gender mainstreaming is more than ethics – it diversifies economies and is the smart decision to make as a business leader.”

The GMAs will, this year, offer more opportunities for shared learning across the region.

“The success of the awards cannot be achieved without the trusted opinion of successful inclusive leaders and champions of gender mainstreaming in the various regions,” says Larsen, “which is why we are extremely proud to have a diverse group of high profile judges for each of the three regions in Africa.”

High-profile judges by region

In East Africa, judges include Dorothy Ooko who is the Head of Communications and Public Affairs for Africa at Google. With years of leadership experience at the nexus of technology, innovation and communications, and keen insight into the world of digital marketing and experience working throughout Africa, Dorothy understands what it takes for companies on the continent to leverage digital media to meet strategic business objectives and connect with the contemporary African consumer.

More notable judges in East Africa include:
• Lenin Oyuga, Oracle
• Margaret Kimani, SBM Bank Ltd (Kenya)
• Sarah Richson, Richemele International
• Alice Oyaro, Self-employed
• James Ngomeli, Brands and Beyond Ltd
• Magdalene Mwende Mulandi, SBM Bank
(K) Ltd.
• Waithera Mwai, Nairobi Securities
Exchange Plc
• Dr Patricia Murugami, Breakthrough
Leadership Transformation
• Racey Muchilwa, Novartis Sub-Saharan
Africa (SSA)
• Wambui Mbesa, Intrasoft International
East Africa
• Donna Phoebe Rege, Safaricom PLC
• Eva Komba, SDGs Kenya Forum
• Eva Muraya, BSD Group
• Helen Basuuta Nangonzi, Absa Bank Uganda Limited
• Annette Kimitei, Senaca East Africa
• Kendi Miaro Omol, Sanofi
• Marilyn Dutlow Munga, Kantar
• Sylvia Mukasa, GlobalX Investments Ltd/Innovation Labs
• Gladness C. Deogratias, NMB Plc
• Janice Kemoli, Ignition Consortium
• Romana Rajput, Interswitch Group
• Tom Shivo, HF Group
• Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane, Absa Bank Botswana Limited
• Risper Genga Ohaga, EABL
• Ndu Okoh, Host in The Situation
• Patrick Foya, ABSA Tanzania
• Tendai Murahwa, Diversity Dividend Africa
• Nancy Biwott, Swedish Workplace
• Rosemary Okello-Orlale, Strathmore University Business School

The West Africa region judges include Dr Juliette Tuakli, an internationally acclaimed Paediatrician and Reproductive Health specialist. She is currently the Founder and Medical Director of CHILDAccra, a full-service clinic that provides clinical care and public health care services to children and their families across the West African region. A highly respected social philanthropist, serving on the boards of Mercy Ships, Zenith Bank (GH), and United Way Worldwide, where she is the Chair of the Board of Trustees, and is also a co-Founder of the MOREMI Girls Leadership Initiative and serves as an advisor to various international organizations, corporations and the African Union. As the first female Rotary president of the premier Anglophone club in Africa, Dr Tuakli promoted legislation to protect the disabled, orphans and vulnerable children. Her work was hailed by the African Union in 2016 and she was elected to the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.

More notable judges in West Africa include:

• Cecilia Akintomide, Various Boards
• Richmond Carlos Otu, Jumia Group
• Aishatu Aminu, New Faces, New Voices
• Audrey Abakah, Absa Group
• Uche Uzoebo, SANEF
• Fabia Ogunmekan, WISCAR Nigeria
• Foluso Gbadamosi, Junior Achievement Nigeria
• Madame Merola, Madame Merola Global
• Abena Osei-Poku, ABSA Bank Ghana
• Birgit la Cour Madsen, Danish foreign
• Nneka Eze, VestedWorld
• Toyin Dania, MEST Africa
• Antoinette Kwofie, ABSA Bank Ghana &
• Hillary Andoh, HSA PR
• Peter Ehrenreich, Ehrenreich Logistics
(Pty) Ltd
• Cynthia Ofori-Dwumfuo, Hollard Ghana

• Lolade Awogbade, Development Bank of
• Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Google
• Dr Mercy Gardiner Tenkorang, JGC ICT
• Freda Yahan Duplan, Zenith Bank Ghana
• Glory Edozien, Inspired by Glory Academy.

Southern Africa boasts a diverse group of judges like Grace Setlhare-Mankanku, a pan-African business executive with global outlook having 22 years’ experience in the Financial Services Sector. She has experience in the African diaspora having been a Regional Head of Corporate and Investment Banking looking after Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia. Skilled in Commercial and Retail Banking, Grace led executive positions in listed banks over the course of her career. She currently holds the position of Country Head of Retail with BancABC Botswana.

Other judges in Southern Africa include:

• Malcolm Larsen, Business Engage
• Martie Janse van Rensburg, Various
• Shameela Ebrahim, JSE
• Shirley Machaba, PwC South Africa
• Helena Conradie, Satrix
• Jeanett Modise, Sanlam Limited
• Michael Pryke, EQ Impact
• William Surmon, Botswana Insurance
• Magdeline Madibela, United Nations
• Nikki Viljoen, Viljoen Consulting
• Teryl Schroenn
• Joy-Marie Lawrence, Boardvisory
• Parmi Natesan, IoDSA
• Patrice Lasserre, Chartered Director serving as an NED
• Shepherd Shonhiwa, Reatile Group
• Elmarie Bissett, Nidaba Consulting
• Naresh Ashok, Brawne Capital Holdings
• Rose Mamabolo, WDB Investment
Holdings (WDB)
• Sazini Mojapelo, Corporate Citizenship
• Boitumelo Mogopa, FNB
• Dr Jerry Gule, Institute of People
Management (IPM)
• Refiloe Nkadimeng, African Rainbow
• Wade Cooper, DevelopMe
• Andrew Crone, Nedbank at Nedgroup
• Carina Wessels, Alexander Forbes
• Deirdre King, Jacaranda FM (94.2)
• Chimango Chikwanda, Absa Bank Zambia
• Gavin Fitzmaurice, Webber Wentzel
• Jo-Ann Pohl, iOCO
• Michael Judin, Judin Combrinck Inc
• Busisiwe Sithole, Absa Group
• Dionne Kerr, Siyakha Consulting (Pty) Ltd
• Megs Naidu, Citi
• Ntombi Mhangwani, Accenture Africa,Advocate Bokankatla Malatji, South
African Human Rights Commission

“Achieving gender diversity – at every level of business – is a vitally important issue for African companies participating in a global market. We believe that with the virtual, online GMA event we will reach a wider audience and raise greater awareness, driving progress,” says Larsen.
“Achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Africa requires gender mainstreaming at the heart of every business’ strategy, bold leadership and an empowering environment,” concludes Mhangwani.


  1. Category 1: Private sector
    1.1.Women on Boards Award (including Executive Committees and Pipeline development)
    To recognise and acknowledge companies that have successfully transformed their boards and board sub-committees whilst ensuring that female directors are judged on their experience, contribution to and involvement in, the board and not their gender. It seeks to acknowledge companies who challenge themselves to diversify their boards.
    1.2.Women on Executive Committees in Multinationals
    To recognise multinationals that have successfully put in place a programme/s to shift the statistics in terms of women on their Executive committees and have made successful appointments or have developed a pipeline programme geared towards appointments in the future.
    1.3.Equal Representation & Participation Award
    To recognise organisations that have developed strategies or have already implemented measures for the progressive realisation of a greater representation and meaningful participation of women in decision-making structures.
    1.4.Women Empowerment in the Workplace Award
    To recognise and acknowledge organizations that have not only advanced women in their workplaces through training and capacity building; but have also successfully transformed corporate behaviour and practices.
    1.5.Economic Empowerment Award
    To recognise and acknowledge organisations that have strategies in place to allow for future empowerment of women owned or managed businesses or that have successfully used enterprise development as a mechanism to empower women owned and managed businesses.
    1.6.Mainstreaming Gender and Disability Award
    To recognise and acknowledge companies that have strategies in place to allow for future disability programmes or that implemented sustainable disability programmes which have enhanced skills and provided employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
    1.7.Empowerment of Women in the Community
    To recognise and acknowledge organisations that have strategies in place to allow for future programmes or have
    implemented sustainable initiatives around poverty alleviation which have enhanced skills and provided income
    opportunities that have positively impacted the lives of women and poor communities.
    1.8.Investing in Young Women Award
    To recognise and acknowledge organisations that have strategies in place to allow for future education of young women or have implemented initiatives with the objective of addressing social inequities by educating and empowering young women leaders from diverse economic backgrounds. These initiatives have positively impacted the lives of young women who will become the next generation of women leaders!

    1.9.Gender Reporting by JSE Listed Companies Award (South Africa only)
    To recognise and acknowledge companies that have embraced both the spirit and the letter of this new listing requirement. It also recognises organisations reporting on pipeline development and further recognises whether or not the organisation has made reference to gender or gender policies in the previous year’s reports. At the same time the award recognises that many organisations report on “transformation” or “diversity and inclusion” which may include racial, gender and other transformation issues.
  2. Category 2: Individual Awards
    2.1. Inclusive Leader Award
    Male or female who is actively sponsoring others up the ranks. They have ingrained into their leadership style a
    recognition of the provable benefits to their business that diversity brings, with special emphasis on gender. The
    nomination is made by a person or group of people who know the nominee very well, primarily in a business role, and the nominee accepts the nomination in writing.
    2.2. Positive Role Model Award
    A lady growing her career and who understand the responsibility that comes with being a role model and the need to inspire others to do the same. The nominee is nominated by a person or group of people who know her very well, primarily in a business role, and the nominee accepts the nomination in writing.
  3. Gender Mainstreaming Champion Award
    This is the overall Award for the company in the region.
    Judging and selection
    Shortlisted companies and winners of regional individual categories are judged on the dates below.
    30 June Initial judging and finalist list completed
    Telephonic Interviews
    with finalists
    As per
    6/7 July Equal Representation and Participation
    8/9 July Investing in Young Women
    13/14 July Economic Empowerment
    15/16 July Women on Boards, Women in Multinationals, Gender reporting by JSE-Listed
    20/21 July Women Empowerment in the Workplace
    22/23 July Women Empowerment in the Community
    27/28 July Inclusive Leader
    29/30 July Positive Role Model
    2 August Notification of finalists for the national Gender Mainstreaming Awards ceremony.
    Finalists submit hi-res company logo and/or hi-res photos. Finalists agree to use of logos and photos for marketing purposes (specifications to be provided).
    9 September 2021 Gender Mainstreaming Awards
    Other deadline dates on:

Business Engage introduced the Gender Mainstreaming Awards to encourage private sector to buy-in to achieving more meaningful representation of women in the mainstream of business. There are various categories to fit in with the level of diversity that companies are currently at. As gender diversity is still fairly new worldwide Business Engage understands that many companies are just starting on their journey. Companies and individuals in East, West and Southern Africa are encouraged to use the awards as a springboard to further achievements. There is no cost to submitting an application. All applications are done online at

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