Women are still underrated and underpaid: US envoy


“Women are underpaid, underrated and under supported,” Christopher Rowan, Consul General from United States, told delegates at the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.

“We need to encourage the progress of women entrepreneurs in order to improve their chances of success,’’ he added.  

Women’s Entrepreneurial Day is a global initiative recognised in over 144 countries worldwide. 

The 2015 Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) was held in Sandton, South Africa, to celebrate, support and empower women in business.

More than 60 African female entrepreneurs attended the annual showpiece.

The event, hosted by CNBC Africa in partnership with Forbes Woman Africa, featured prominent businesswomen who shared their inspiring stories.

Chief Executive of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and architect of the entrepreneurship Programme, Parminder Vir OBE shared her views on the importance of investing in female entrepreneurs.

“Real entrepreneurs are not grant seekers and that Africa does not need aid, it needs investors,’’ said Vir.

MTN SA Zakhele Chairperson, Sindi Mabaso-Koyana said there was need to educate children so that they don’t only find jobs but can become entrepreneurs and set a standard for the next generation.

The event also saw four women receiving awards for their role in business.

The four who received awards were Wendy Luhabe named Social Entrepreneur of the year; Linda Olagunju awarded for Emerging Entrepreneur; Lebo Selloane, recognised as the Innovator of the year and Ipeleng Mkhari for Pioneer Women of the year.

Selma Shimutwikeni of Rich Africa, a Namibian based oil and gas company drew from her experiences while addressing delegates.

“On this journey, I was often confronted by scepticism because Namibia is considered frontier territory in oil and gas arena and such an undertaking was too big for a ‘petite young women’. I used this platform to inspire women by presenting a new avenue to transformation through natural resources,’’ said Shimutwikeni.