The Voices of Change movement was born at the 2017 One Young World Summit when Accenture and Thomson Reuters identified an opportunity to leverage their networks and experience to create a lasting and impactful change.
In 2018, Accenture partnered with Nedbank and Thomson Reuters in hosting the inaugural event. In 2019, the partnership grew and included Accenture, Nedbank, MTN and Business Engage.
Last year, the circle grew even bigger with Accenture, AECI, Aspen, Business Engage, Imperial, Nedbank, Pfizer and RMB coming together to host the virtual Voices of Change event.
Previous events took place physically, allowing us to host 200 guests in 2018 at Nedbank and 300 guests in 2019 at Emperors Palace. Due to COVID 19 restrictions, the 2020 event took place virtually, allowing us to host over 1500 guests. This year, the event will take place on 05 August and aims to host about 5000 guests online.
This year’s partners include Accenture, AECI, AngloGold Ashanti, Aspen, Astron Energy, Business Engage, FNB, Imperial, Life Healthcare, Nedbank, Pfizer, Refinitiv, RMB, Vodacom and WesBank.
A drive to a more equal society is more difficult today than ever. Women are still significantly under-represented in the workplace (47 percent vs. 74 percent of men globally), with less than 10 percent making it into top leadership. South Africa mirrors these trends: unemployment rates among women are higher across all races; women are more susceptible to retrenchment; and they are paid less. Additionally, they account for little more than 10 percent of top leadership level of organisations – CEOs or chairpersons. These gender inequities remain despite studies illustrating the value of diversity to economies and to business. We know that diversity is important to a strong economy and inclusive growth, that increased diversity in business drives revenue growth, and that the most equal cultures are also the most innovative, yet gender equality continues to elude us. This can be changed if we as a collective work together to activate awareness, share learnings, and identify interventions to fast track gender equality. Voices of Change will help us achieve exactly that.
Barriers to career progression, societal biases, an absence of female mentors… these and many other challenges remain. To drive change, organisations need to refocus ecosystems to support the development of women. Voices of Change seeks to strengthen the purposes of gender equality and allow partners to share their experiences, successes and measures that can empower women. It also allows partners to share a set of values and strengthen the value proposition of gender equality. It encourages both men and women to be at the forefront of gender equality and play a leading role.
The theme for this year – She, He, We, is Power – has a strong message: to harness the power of diversity, collective effort is needed. It refers to the collective power—of women and men—that is now needed to build a more powerful, economically inclusive future. The future relies on collaboration – the theme emphasises that we are more powerful when we stand together in unity. It is only by joining forces to support gender equality, by ‘she’ and ‘he’ becoming ‘we’, that outdated systems will transform. The leaders and influencers that appear on the event schedule illustrate recognition of this across industries.
The keynote for the event will be delivered by Bonang Mohale, Chancellor of UFS and Chairman of Bidvest. Other speakers include Josh Levs, previous CNN fact checker, author and UN Gender Champion; Vivienne Artz OBE, Chief Privacy Officer & Managing Director at London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), Ntombi Langa-Royds, Non-executive Director at Redefine Properties Limited.