Former Miss South Africa, Basetsana Makgalemele, says women need to be each other’s stepping stones to stardom rather than pulling each other down in a patriarchy dominated world.
Speaking at the inaugural IAM conference in Harare over the weekend, the 1994 beauty queen bemoaned gender parities within the continent as well as a patriarchy but was elated that there seems to be a change in mentality as more women are collaborating to ensure there is no one being left behind.
“The narrative now is beginning to change that women are supporting each other and because we have the same struggles…I’m advocating that we need to see women supporting women and not to see women pulling each other down. We need to see a mass movement of women coming up in key positions of power, in corridors of power, in boardrooms,” said Makgalemele.
She added that the black girlchild’s voice needs to be amplified as in most cases, they are left alone bearing the brunt of gender disparities.
“We still live in a patriarchal society on the African continent and the voice of the black girl child needs to be heard…It is important that we multiply our voices and be able to magnify our faces so that that voice can be heard in a system that is predominantly male-dominated.
“We need to challenge that status quo and it’s going to take bold and courageous women to be able to re-write that history. It’s disheartening that in 2020 we still have those gender disparities, and those disparities need to be dispelled and it’s going to take women who are courageous, purpose-driven and unafraid to call the system as it is,” she noted.
The I AM conference brought women from different spheres of life and was graced by luminaries like Pokello Nare, Ruth Makandiwa, Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa, Susan Makore and several other leading women voices.
The conference was designed for women who are seeking growth, inspiration, and connection in their personal lives, businesses and careers.
I AM offers to empower talks, workshops and sessions on topics such as confidence, relationships, owning your truth, wellness, doing the work, and so much more.
It is the brainchild of Nyengeterai Mahaka and her team at True Reflections – a boutique marketing agency in Harare, which specializes in training, marketing strategy and branding.
The I AM Women’s Conference is the flagship conference which will usher in future I AM conferences that will be conducted throughout the year.
Speaking at the event, Nyengeterai Mahaka highlighted that the event theme “Unapologetically You” was a call to arms for women to stop apologizing for existing and choosing to be their authentic self-whether in the boardroom, in society, or within the broader community.