The national project of gender empowerment driven by President Cyril Ramaphosa and the principles of the South African Constitution has received a regenerative boost of confidence and restored strength by the renewal of the partnership between headline sponsor Standard Bank with Topco Media for the country’s preeminent gender empowerment initiative, Top Women. Continuing the success of 17 years as South Africa’s largest initiative to advocate for the advancement of gender equality, Top Women has a track record as Africa’s fearless champion of human rights and women-driven economic growth. Now, with a secured pathway for the future, Standard Bank Top Women is proud to announce their official support by internationally acclaimed moral leaders the United Nations Women and the Commission for Gender Equality.

Coinciding with the United Nation’s International Women’s Day and South Africa’s Human Rights Day in March, Top Women launch their 2020 programme in celebration of all active citizens who contribute to accelerating the power and impact of gender parity and women empowerment in the workplace. With regional and national conferences rolling out across the country, the Top Women 2020 programme shines a light on the success stories of South Africa’s women leaders, and offers powerful platform to address the enduring challenges that face gender justice, empowerment and women-driven economic growth.

Included in the Top Women community of leaders is a selection of esteemed speakers past and present: Former Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Adv. Thuli Madonsela, Phuti Mahanyele, Johanna Mukoki, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Aisha Pandor, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Judy Dlamini and Caster Semenya to name but a few.

As an authoritative symposium for women and men to engage in dialogue and create an action plan for positive change, Top Women responds to the pertinent questions surrounding the barriers to success for women in the workplace. With a gathering of renowned thought leaders, mentors, entrepreneurs and change drivers from the business world, public sector, civil society and communities, the Top Women conferences welcome all to participate and contribute to the programme of exchange, dialogue and knowledge sharing.

The 2020 regional and national conventions allow women entrepreneurs a rare opportunity to be fast tracked to high-level networking masterclasses with trade executives, to grow their business acumen and skills development through fireside-chat panel discussions, and to gain valuable exposure for their business ideas in unique pitching sessions to top captains of industry.

“It is no longer a secret that women are the custodians of key developments in South Africa, and the rest of the African continent. At Standard Bank, we have an opportunity through the Top Woman partnership, to not only identify but celebrate women who are making considerable strides in their respective industries. Top Woman is not a destination, but one of the many steps we as Standard Bank are taking with our leading women to ensure that they keep moving forward” – Lindy-Lou Alexander, Head of Marketing: Personal and Business Banking Standard Bank

The Top Women national tour culminates with the annual Top Women Awards in Johannesburg in August 2020 and honours the nation’s finest achievers for their outstanding contribution to gender justice. The 2020 Top Women Awards finalists represent South Africa’s potential to overcome adversities facing women in business and are comprised of a range of organisations from the private sector, government, communities and civil society. The finalists and award winners inspire the nation to mobilise mutual efforts toward paving the way for an inclusive and fair environment. Top Women Awards entries are now open.

Our ethos at TOP WOMEN is a community built around the spirit of mentorship, with successful women uplifting others to pursue success to an equal degree, and collectively sharing knowledge gained through experience to help all community members advance.” – Ralf Fletcher- CEO – Topco Media

“We are passionate about exemplifying and driving gender empowerment and our Regional Conferences contribute to driving growth throughout different spheres of the economy by offering the relevant tools needed for women to break down the barriers of access to markets. We look forward to showcasing some of the most successful stories and strategies implemented in the development of leadership roles for women, and connecting entrepreneurs to key influencers who are serious about economy-wide progress.”

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