An increasing number of South African women are opting to emigrate because of the limited career opportunities on home soil.
This has been revealed by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) after analysing data that shows the migration patterns between all African countries and 35 other OECD countries.
A related study carried out by the Institute for Future Research at the University of Stellenbosch and the Commission for Gender Equality also revealed that the number of skilled women emigrating to some of the world’s most favoured immigrant destinations is growing faster than the number of men leaving the country
The most popular destinations include the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
In an interview with Business Day, Janine Hicks, Commissioner at the Commission for Gender Equality, said this is probably because of the disproportionate representation of women in senior positions in South Africa.
“If you ask about a push factor, it’s that we are out there, but we are not getting access to senior positions. Gender transformation groups have put out figures that point to poor gender transformation,” Hicks said.
Young women tend to take advantage of the opportunities offered to them, and if these opportunities are in other countries, they will take them
“Mining companies in Mpumalanga claim they struggle to retain women professionals. Mining companies in South Africa are based in rural areas, so some would joke that there is no Woolworths in Secunda so it would be hard to retain a woman there. But they don’t seem to want to talk about investing in services that women working in these areas need, such as schools to send their children to, and gynaecologists. In fact, I challenge you to find one gynaecologist in Secunda,” Hicks added.
In South Africa in 2013/14, women made up almost half (46,8%) of the employed population, yet among executive managers, only 29,3% were women, 9,2% of private sector chairpersons of boards were female and a shocking 2,4% of CEOs of JSE-listed companies were women.
The UK, USA and Australia saw 967 619 South Africans immigrating between 2010 and 2013, and 486 134 of these were women.
“Young women tend to take advantage of the opportunities offered to them, and if these opportunities are in other countries, they will take them, especially if they face such a high chance of not finding work here,” Mienke Steytler of the South African Institute of Race Relations, said in a statement.