Call for white women to bow out of employment equity

White women should be struck off a list of groups recognised as previously disadvantaged in terms of the employment equity legislation, the Black Management Forum (BMF) said on Tuesday.

In its written submission to the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on labour, the forum requested that the current employment equity legislation be amended to exclude white women as beneficiaries.

“We ... assert that white women bow out of employment equity and that this committee help institute amendments to the Employment Equity Act through a sunset clause [a provision that ends a power or programme] for white women,” it read.

This would help re-focus targeting people with disabilities, black people and, in particular, black women, the organisation said.

Two months ago, Employment Equity Commission chairperson Jimmy Manyi suggested that white women, whom he said had surpassed their employment equity targets, should have their status reviewed.

He accused white business of trying to conceal their un-transformed employment profile by employing more white women into management positions.

According to Manyi, white women held almost 15% of the executive positions in 4 380 companies surveyed.

Kezia Lewins, a labour expert from the University of the Witwatersrand, on Tuesday said recent data showed a significant increase in the number of white women appointed to senior management positions.

“Especially since 2006, there was not only a large increase in the number of white women but also white men,” she said while briefing the committee.

According to statistics she presented to the committee, there were approximately three white females for every single African woman in senior management.

Committee chairperson Rebecca Kasienyane said the committee, which was conducting hearings on workplace discrimination, would make recommendations to Parliament.

Two weeks ago, Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni said white women were discriminated against in the old dispensation.—Sapa

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