Apathy out, achievement in

29 July 2002
MBA students at the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) are hosting a one-day conference next week to celebrate the achievements of South African women in business. Organisers say the event is also designed to encourage women to consider an MBA as a viable career option.

While 25% of the MBA class at the UCT GSB is now made up of women (23% at Wits Business School), the majority of MBA programmes are still largely male-dominated, says Ariella Kuper, Class President of the MBA 2002 class at the GSB. Kuper believes that the low numbers of women can in part be attributed to a general apathy among women who have a negative perception of women in business.

"By creating a platform such as the Women in Business Conference where we can showcase some of South Africa's most talented businesswomen, we can engage proactively with the South African business community and encourage women to take up the challenge and enter the business world," says Kuper. The Conference will provide an opportunity for speakers to share their views and opinions. Its aim is to provide a forum in which individuals can network and learn from each other.

This is the third year that the GSB Women in Business Conference has been staged in Cape Town. The event is the only conference of its calibre in South Africa that is organised exclusively by MBA students.

The conference will be open to the public and will feature five guest speakers: Dr Dori Weil (Clinical Psychologist 702); Jane Raphaely (Associated Magazines); Taweni Gondwe (Oprah magazine); Sharon Keith (Coca-Cola) and Sheila Zonda (Eakhona Associates).

All speakers are giving of their time free of charge. This, together with generous sponsorship deals, means that the conference is very affordable. "We wanted to keep the costs down so as to make it accessible to as many people as possible – both men and women," says Kuper.

As part of the proceedings, the students will also make a R2 000 donation to charity. The Conference will be held on the August 6, 2002. For details call Faiza on 406-1486 or email her at: faizaisa@gsb.uct.ac.za.

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