Gender Justice was the hot topic at Cape Town’s Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking this month where SAP and partners welcomed global NGO’s, thought leaders and government representatives for a three-day workshop in pursuit of bold social change.

Hosted by SAP, Care and The Sall Family Foundation, the three-day Design Thinking session called upon influencers and activists to address how organisations and individuals can collectively invest intellectual, social and financial resources to challenge unjust systems. The global summit also facilitated the launch of ‘Embark’, an initiative developed by CARE, led by community change-makers fighting for social justice and gender equality.

English Sall, co-founder of Embark commented, “The summit was a roaring success with high attendance and active participation of attendees from across the globe. Considering International Women’s Day is taking place this month, it is the perfect time to have announced Embark. The Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking provided the ultimate venue, drawing inspiration and creative ideas for our collective action in support of our gender justice initiative.”

Sall continues by saying that there is immense disruption and struggle across the globe with the rise of xenophobia and fascism coupled with shrinking civil society spaces. “Like never before, there is an urgent need for collective action to push for social and political change at all levels, and this is what inspired Embark.”

Research shows that reducing workplace inequalities over the next 20 years could add 6% to global GDP. However, there are still several obstacles to achieving true workplace equality within African organisations. President Ellen Sirleaf, women’s activist and supporter of Embark added, “I am honoured to partner with SAP and Embark as we seek to strengthen and resource women-led movements and leadership throughout the world.”

She continues “Active intervention of women in decision-making positions will help foster the overall quality of governance in terms of boosting accountability and transparency, reducing corruption, and protecting the interest of marginalized sections of society. But we can’t do this alone, we need all people to come together around the same vision of equality.”

SAP’s Global Gender Agenda

Achieving gender equality is vital to the culture and success of every company, from small start-ups to large corporates. Advancing women’s equality could add $12-trillion to global GDP by 2025 “Empowering women in the workplace is a priority. It’s vital that we work together to deconstruct and replace the social norms and structures that fuel ongoing inequalities,” says Sunil Geness, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Government Relations at SAP Africa.

“As a purpose-driven company based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, SAP’s entire ecosystem connects companies, partners and customers around innovation and demonstrates a strong commitment to Sustainable Development Goal number 5: Gender Equality.

Geness continues to say that there’s a growing recognition in the value of diversity and inclusion, and forward-thinking companies are reflecting on the diversity in their boardrooms and talent pools and working towards gender equality and equity. “With more than 90% of jobs to become tech related, it is crucial that we empower women and girls to become active collaborators, innovators and business leaders in the STEM fields and unlock technology’s potential to effect positive change across our continent.”