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20 Years of Freedom and Democracy
Attendees sign pledge to move women agenda forward
​A pledge committing to move the women agenda forward as well as to ensure change in their spheres of influence was signed on the final day of the three-day Women in Leadership Seminar.

The seminar, held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium from 10 to 12 April, saw a number of dynamic presenters speak on barriers holding women back and what should be done to support and promote other women in order to achieve goal five of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The workshop was hosted by the Municipal Institute of Learning together with the City’s Transformation Office. The third and final day of the seminar focused largely on maintaining a work/life balance as well as women empowerment.

Ayanda Madladla from the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs said women often juggled many roles at home and in the workplace. She urged women to be assertive and not aggressive in both spaces. “We need to strike this balance which is linked to emotional intelligence. We need to be assertive in our opinions but not aggressive which will cause you to not listen to what the other party is saying,” she said. She added that being “present in the moment was important”.

This was supported by Virginie Nothard, an international career leadership and business coach, trainer and speaker who said women should strive for blended priorities to make more time. “When you are mindfulness, you are living in the moment and are present.” She provided practical examples of how women can maximise the 16 hours they are awake to juggle all their responsibilities while emphasising the importance of getting eight hours of sleep a night. Nothard ended her presentation saying: “When you love what you do, life simply unfolds. Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.”

Health and fitness was emphasised by personal trainer Sam Xulu who provide shocking statistics of the health levels of South Africans. “South Africa was recently named the unhealthiest country in the world. There is a 68 percent diabetes rate in women, 39 percent in men and 13 percent in children in South Africa. Over 1.8 million cases of diabetes were reported last year. We only have one body, if we don’t take care of it who will?” she asked attendees.

She said leading a healthy life was simple by having the correct diet, exercising, drinking loads of water and getting enough sleep. She got the audience on their feet by doing a few exercise moves.
Chief Information Officer at Transnet Sindisiwe Moloi spoke on the interesting topic of “Pull Her Down Syndrome” which sees women pulling other women down. “I have a philosophy in life to always move forward and never backwards.

If you are confident in who you are you will never try to live your life being something else. Women can be so cruel when dealing with other women who are in pain or going through a hard time,” she said speaking about the difficult time she lost her 12 year-old son. She urged women to be innovators and architects of change. “Invest in yourself, learn to forgive each other, be calm under pressure and know your game plan. Be an authentic and ethical leader,” she advised.

Amanda Mathe agreed with this as she spoke on women and the power of unity. She focused on the importance of women leaders mentoring younger women. “Mentorship is a really great way to build yourself, whether you’re a mentor or a mentee. It allows for development in cultural diversity, ageism and belief structures,” she said.

The event concluded with a round up by Deputy Head of Occupational Health and Safety Dr Fathima Suleman and Deputy Head of the eThekwini Municipal Academy Mabongi Xhakaza who urged the women to take what they have learnt and implement it to bring about positive change.

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