SA Affordable Housing November / December 2021 - Page 22

CONTRIBUTOR

The gender agenda in social housing

RAWPIXEL . COM - FREEPIK
By Mpolai Nkopane , Acting CEO , Social Housing Regulatory Authority ( SHRA )
When it comes to women ’ s empowerment and gender mainstreaming activities in South Africa , government departments and State-owned entities must not underestimate the power women hold to lead by example .

Further , these entities can initiate programmes and policies , which have positive knock-on effects for women in wider industries . With this column , I hope to encourage others to explore how they can practically engage on the gender agenda .

The Social Housing Regulatory Authority ( SHRA ) is fortunate to exist at the intersection of the construction sector , government , and the South African people . This gives us three areas in which we can contribute to gender mainstreaming . Led by a council that is mostly comprised of women , we have initiated a Sector Development and Transformation Programme for Gender Mainstreaming in Social Housing . As we are transforming within our agency , we are promoting transformation externally , too .
For tenants of social housing , we are working on improving access to community and social services and enhancing the economic mobility of women . We are investigating how best to do this in a sustainable way , supported by the right resources . Measures to address gender-based violence are also part of our action plan . We strive to promote women ’ s leadership and employment in related professional and construction sectors and addressing sexism in the social housing sector . Through collaboration with partners , we have planned workshops , incubation opportunities , and mentorship for women in the industry and up-and-coming social housing institutions ( SHIs ). We are in the process of developing an inclusive growth policy , which seeks to positively discriminate and advocate for women and designated groups in terms of access to the opportunities provided by the SHRA .
Within the entity itself , we are implementing policies and practices for women ’ s leadership and mobility in the sector , with a focus on appropriate succession planning which prioritises female employees .
Here , I have explored just some of the initiatives that we are looking at as the SHRA . What can you do to contribute to the gender agenda ? The answer is not always simple , but my advice is that the first step is to look within . What is your board composition ? Multiple studies show that having women on your board of directors has tangible benefits for not just your bottom line , but your reputation as a socially conscious organisation . It ’ s time you make the move .
“ This gives us three areas in which we can contribute to gender mainstreaming .”
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