South Africa has made great strides towards gender equality and empowering women in the workplace but more still need to be done.
According to a recent study, over a third of South African women feel that their gender is holding them back from advancement in studies and the work place. It’s vital that tomorrow’s female leaders are equipped with the skills and qualifications necessary if transformation in the workplace can happen.
The CellCgirl Bursary Fund has seen the graduation of twenty-three young women over the past four years. The Bursary Fund is Cell C’s financial initiative that invests in the tertiary education – and by doing so, the empowerment and advancement – of young South African women from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The CellCgirl Bursary fund’s graduates have furthered their careers and qualifications and some of these graduates were employed by Cell C, while others have seized opportunities at other companies.
The fields that these young women have qualified in include Law, Medicine, Chemical Engineering, Accounting, IT and Business, with nearly all of them now successfully employed.
“We’re very proud of each and every one of the young ladies who have earned their qualifications through CellCgirl Bursary fund,” says Juliet Mhango, Cell C’s Human Capital & Transformation Officer.
“Cell C remains committed to playing our part in the education and empowerment of South Africa’s female industry leaders of the future,” she says.
The CellCgirl Bursary Fund is managed by Tomorrow Trust; a non-profit organisation offering social, life skills development and academic support to each bursary recipient, to complete their degrees and graduate thereby becoming self-sustaining, independent individuals contributing to South Africa’s economy.
One of 2019’s graduates, Busisiwe Dube, graduated from the Vaal University of Technology with a National Diploma in Chemical Engineering. She has since secured a permanent position at water solutions company, Aquamat.
“Looking at the financial aspect of the bursary, my goal to become an engineer has gone from being a black and white dream and turned to an entire reality,” she says.
“I am fully certain if I had not received funding from Cell C I would have either had to settle for another career path which cost less to study and something I was not passionate about, or I would have not received a tertiary education at all.”
Last year’s graduates also included Shelley Sikhosana who graduated from Tshwane University of Technology with a National Diploma in Finance & Accounting.
“Being part of the CellCgirl Bursary Fund reduced the financial burden by allowing me to have more time and energy on my studies rather than part-time work,” she says. “I got one piece of the puzzle of what creates a strong foundation for supporting me financially and psychological, through holistic workshops and one on one sessions with the psychologist.”
“The bursary has literally paved the way to finally be able to better myself, have a career that I am proud of. Having the financial and psycho-social support pushed me and gave me the motivation to work hard. “I will forever be grateful to be part of the CellCgirl Bursary Fund.”
“Developing, empowering and encouraging women to succeed is at the heart of CellCgirl Bursary Fund,” says Juliet Mhango. “By providing education and support, Cell C is helping to empower the future female leaders of South Africa and taking a vital step towards achieving gender equality in the workplace.”
“We’re proud to do our part for women in South Africa,” she says.