A rather insightful, real and thought-provoking book is what Equal But Different is. It explores and shares the life stories of women leaders’ in South Africa and how they overcame gender, race and social class issues in their career climb to success. It’s esteemed author, Dr. Judy Dlamini interviews several influential womenleaders in South Africa on their personal and career journey’s and their thoughts on women leadership in South Africa and Africa in general. Not only are the voices of these women shared but also the men who have committed to supporting black women empowerment activities.
Dr. Dlamini believes that we are all equal but different and starts her book with her personal stories as a child facing racism in apartheid South Africa, parental counsel and guidance, and how being entrepreneurial with her husband taught her many business lessons.
It’s interesting how despite the racial ( Colored, African, Indian and White) differences between the women, they faced similar gender inequities in the corporate & entrepreneurial industry. They also agreed on the importance of maintaining a work-life balance and not having to sacrifice family for work. This is something which many young professionals are unable to keep up with. Another commonality is how patriarchy is so entrenched and how taking measures to ensure that there’s equality amongst men and women is a must. A necessary action to be taken.
Although the book focuses on South African women, I realised how women in Ghana also face the same trials and barriers just because of their gender. There’s abundant encouragement flowing from within the pristine pages which urges you on to flip to the last. The book shares what we need to do as women to ensure gender transformation.
Below are my select favourite and inspirational quotes from the interviewees.
#EqualButDifferent is a book offering solutions to gender, race and social class problems retrogressing the lives of South African women and even other African women on the continent. It’s a collation of South African women’s voices echoing courage, strength and hard work in the face of gender stereotyping and racial abuse. It’s a must-read for today’s African woman.
Get your personal copy via the following links:
1. Amazon http://bit.ly/equalbutdifferent
2. Amazon UK http://bit.ly/equalbutdifferentUK
About the Author
Dr Judy Dlamini MBChB(Natal) DOH(UFS)MBA(Wits) DBL(UNISA)
Dr Judy Dlamini is the founder and executive Chairman of the Mbekani Group. She is the former Chairman of Aspen Pharmacare Limited (Aspen) a JSE-listed South African pharmaceutical manufacturer with an extensive global presence with product distribution in more than 120 countries. Mbekani celebrated 20 years in business in 2016. The group has operations and investments in different sectors, including pharmaceuticals, facilities and property management, tourism, surgical instruments management, and luxury fashion retail.
Judy qualified as a medical doctor in 1985 from the University of Natal. She practised as a family practitioner for many years before consulting in Occupational Health for various companies, including Rainbow Chicken, Divpac (a NAMPAK subsidiary) and National Ports Operations. After completing her MBA, having majored in Corporate Finance, she joined HSBC Investment Bank, Johannesburg division, in Corporate Finance. She obtained Doctorate in Business Leadership from UNISA where she investigated the intersection of race, gender and social class in women CEOs’ career progression and strategies for gender transformation at leadership level. One of the academic contributions from her research is the WHEEL Theoretical Model.
She is the recipient of the African Economy Builder Lifetime Achiever Award for 2016 from African Economy Builder Forum; The Global CEO’s 2016 Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government SADC South award for the Business and Professional Services sector at regional and national level, and Fabulous Woman Award 2016. She is the author of “Equal but Different: Women Leaders’ Life Stories”, which was published in 2016.
She recently (August 2016) stepped down from the Anglo American plc board to focus on her business. Previous board engagements include Discovery Holdings, a JSE listed financial services company where she chaired the Remuneration and Transformation Committees, and Woolworths Holdings (JSE listed Retail Company). She is past chairman of the CEPPWAWU Development Trust, a public benefit trust. She and her husband, Sizwe Nxasana, are the founders and trustees of Mkhiwa trust, a family public benefit organisation with a focus in rural development and education. She is a wife, a mother and a grandmother.
ABOUT THE BOOK
“My interest in this area of study is based on my strong belief that people are born equal but different. It is a belief that equity across gender, race, social class and sexual orientation will be attained in my lifetime”.
Equal but different is based on my doctoral thesis which investigated the intersection of race, gender and social class in women leaders’ career progression. The women leaders came up with strategies for gender transformation at leadership level. The book presents life stories of women leaders in South Africa and abroad and men who believe in gender equality and contributed towards this goal. The common thread across the life stories of women who contributed to the book are:
• • A message from family that said ‘’you can be anything that you set your mind to be’’
• • Supportive men who sponsored and mentored them.
• • Pursuit of education
• • Determination to succeed
• • Your initial social class should not determine the person you become. Though the lower your initial social class is, the harder you have to work to achieve your ambitious dreams.
This book is relevant for people across gender, race and social class who want advice on personal strategies and tactics to succeed; leaders who want to be inclusive with an empowerment agenda for minorities; mentors across gender, corporate and government leaders who are committed to transformation.