It's about recognising, respecting, valuing and leveraging diversity in a way that enhances our perspective or point of view.
The creation, sharing and application of knowledge are central to everything we do. But knowledge doesn't grow on its own. It's created and nurtured by people coming together to share their individual ideas. This is further enriched by variety – especially by the unlimited abundance of experience and cultural diversity in PwC.
Diversity is all the ways in which people are unique, both visibly and subliminally. Inclusion is about how we act. It's about recognising, respecting, valuing and leveraging diversity in a way that enhances our perspective or point of view.
An inclusive culture is one where we can feel we can bring our whole selves to work and where we can express our ideas openly. By strengthening the representation of diversity in our firm, we do more than just create an opportunity for individuals; we also harness great talent and great potential. 'Diversity is a noun, inclusion is a verb'.
As a subscriber to the UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles, PwC in Southern Africa is a proud supporter of gender diversity within our firm. To this end, we’re supporting the UN Secretary-General’s UNite to End Violence against Women and Children campaign, aimed at working to end gender inequality and violence against women and girls. People the world over wear orange on the 25th of every month to show support for this initiative, leading up to 25 November, which is the International Day to end violence against Women. By wearing orange, we generate interest and spark conversations about the issue, and ultimately get people thinking and talking about how to end violence against women and girls. Our partners and staff member wear their orange ribbon with pride as they stand up and say NO!
Research and media are currently dominated by a focus on women in leadership and on corporate boards. However, to achieve sustainable change, the public and private sectors should be changing the conversation; that organisations should also focus now on developing talented women in less senior management positions for future leadership roles. In the corporate world, the ‘gender agenda’ has undoubtedly been gaining momentum; however, at leadership level, gender diversity progress has been slow. Research shows that progressing women in greater numbers to leadership levels increases the quality and revenue of business. The Gender Mainstreaming Awards, an initiative of Business Engage and sponsored by PwC, is about more than rewarding gender mainstreaming strategies; it seeks to redefine the context in which dialogue about gender diversity takes place. The purpose of the awards is to motivate the business case for transformation in private and public sectors where women comprise over 50% of the available workforce and have specialist skills to bring to the proverbial table.
For us, social responsibility is not a process, nor a series of related or discrete initiatives. Education and skills development are our key focus areas, which we impart by drawing on the knowledge and skills of our people. In line with our values, we identify projects and initiatives that enable us to make a sustainable contribution to the growth of our country. PwC continues to do much to assist the development of women’s entrepreneurial skills. With the Faranani Rural Women Training initiative, PwC – through its establishment of the Business Skills for South Africa Foundation – was able to extend its gender empowerment policy to women in rural communities. This nationwide initiative teaches essential skills to women who want to start and manage their own business.
At PwC in South Africa, woman comprise 56% of our workforce, and make an invaluable contribution to our firm. Our strong focus on gender diversity is evident through the many programmes that we have in place.