Gender Dividend Debate Sets the Stage for BRICS Summit

14 July 2023
South Africa, South Africa

On July 14, 2023, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government (Durban, South Africa) in collaboration with the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance held a significant Gender Dividend Debate as a precursor to the upcoming 15th BRICS Summit, scheduled for August. Led by Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube of Kwazulu-Natal, the engaging session took place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) in the vibrant City of Durban. 

Addressing the pressing issue of gender parity and the realization of gender dividends, the debate highlighted the trail of painful realities that persist despite the progress made in advancing inclusive economies within the unipolar global power architecture.

Topic: The political economy of gender in a multipolar world, why does it matter? 
Theme: Tomorrow’s multipolar world, through a gender lens

Themed “Tomorrow’s Multipolar World, Through a Gender Lens”, the Gender Dividend Debate witnessed the participation of prominent female leaders such as Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina of the DTIC, Dr. Arikana Chihombori, Ambassador Ereika Bennett and Madam Sharmila Govind from the New Development Bank. These distinguished women represented various spheres, including politics, government, entrepreneurship and advocacy groups. 

The aim of the session was to foster an engaging dialogue surrounding the invaluable contributions of women in politics, government, and business, while emphasizing the significance of gender diversity within organizations. The debate stressed the importance of translating possibilities and optimism into practical solutions and resolutions. These efforts are crucial in developing the BRICS agenda on gender equality by 2030, in alignment with the Johannesburg XV BRICS Summit Declaration. 

Lebogang Zulu, Chairperson of BRICS Women’s Business Alliance South Africa, echoed the sentiment that as the BRICS countries continue to champion a multipolar world order, it is essential to consider the voices of women within the decision-making structures of BRICS. This inclusion is vital for advancing gender equality and equity by 2030. Ms. Zulu highlighted the realistic challenges faced by women in political, social and economic arenas, underscoring the need for innovative approaches to elevate women’s voices and support female leaders in influential positions within BRICS. In responding to questions from the delegates, she highlighted that some of key factors to be included in the BRICS Women Development eGoli declaration would consist in the establishment of female led advisory committees to serves the BRICS Presidential, Ministerial and SHERPA levels as part of elevating the voices of women within the BRICS decision-making structures and ensuring the inclusive agenda forms a key component of the priorities of BRICS. 

The discussion covered key themes, including economic growth through gender equality. Panellists emphasized the strong correlation between gender diversity and enhanced financial performance, providing robust evidence in support of the Gender Dividend concept. The event also explored the crucial role of leadership in fostering an inclusive environment, supporting professional growth and cultivating diversity of thought. Additionally, the significance of mentorship and sponsorship programs in accelerating women’s career progression was emphasized, along with the importance of prioritizing diversity and inclusion efforts to overcome gender bias in the workplace. 

Attendees commended the event as empowering and insightful, providing a platform for meaningful discussions on gender diversity. The transformative power of gender multiplicity was highlighted and the contributions of women were celebrated, recognizing the gender dividend as a strategic advantage for organizations. The discussions held during the debate are expected to have a lasting impact on all participants. 

South Africa is honoured to host the 15th BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, from August 22 to 24, 2023. The Summit will be held under the theme: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development, and Inclusive Multilateralism”.