Women shouldn’t only chase employment, they should also have an entrepreneurial state of mind – Sowetan Dialogues told

Londiwe Dlomo Journalist
The panel also cautioned strongly against disqualifying yourself as a woman.
The panel also cautioned strongly against disqualifying yourself as a woman.
Image: 123RF

Infrastructure structuring specialist Sheila Galloway believes that young women shouldn’t only chase employment, but have an entrepreneurial state of mind as well.

Speaking at the Sowetan Dialogue in partnership with the Gautrain on the last day of Women’s Month, Galloway stressed that young women should  also seek to gain a qualification as it was imperative in this day and age.

“When I have conversations with young ladies, my conversation is not to say, go and get employed.  I never say that, my conversation with young ladies is always, be able to become an entrepreneur at the end of the day, make sure you get a qualification.”

Galloway was part of a panel that included Zanele Potelwa, a radio presenter, and Siyamthanda Ndlakuse, senior manager, commercial and finance at the Gautrain Management Agency.

The session was about how women are moving SA forward and was moderated by Nozipho Tshabalala, the CEO of company The Conversation Strategists.

Galloway said a qualification is important to allow you to gain access and a seat at the table; irrespective of what the qualification is, it is needed. She used herself as an example, stating that she is a qualified lawyer, yet she is in the infrastructure sector.

She also stressed the importance of mentorship, stating that there should be more mentorship opportunities for young women, and that it should not be something that happens during Women’s Month only.  And lastly, she added that women should also take note of the "softer issues" that they deal with.

“I think there is also another conversation that needs to be had as well, which is  a lot more softer issues, which is what we need to have with young ladies … let’s talk about our psychology, let’s make sure that we are not ever disrespected, let’s make sure that  we know our self-worth.”

Ndlakuse echoed this advice on acknowledging the psychological, when asked what advice she would give to a young woman who was fearful of tackling an opportunity that was new.

“…Often, for you to be able to charter what the way forward looks like,  you need to take a  step back and say, let me first look internally, what is going on.”

Ndlakuse knows how intimidating it is to put your hand up to try something new, but says she has a trusted motto which helps her navigate. That motto is "S.E.E a way out", the "S" stands for  Show up, the first "E" for equip and excel, while the second "E" stands for encourage and empower.

“Step up and show up but don’t just show up, show up excellently, be prepared, do the work. I know that a lot of discussions are around how we as females are trying to catch up, we’re trying to prove ourselves. If you know that you’ve got a gap to fill, do the work. Work extra hard, put in the hours, do that. And the last point is then, empower and encourage. Give someone else the empowerment of their voice.”   

The panel also cautioned strongly against disqualifying yourself as a woman.

Potelwa spoke about accountability, and how having women in higher positions facilitates it. She shared that while looking for a television job she was asked for a sexual favour by a man in a position of power.

“And for me that’s one of the biggest reasons why I believe there needs to be accountability in the industry, which I think can only be done if there are more and more women there when such processes are taking place and are in seats of power and are able to point these things out to say that they are wrong and they shouldn’t be done that way and I definitely think that at the end of the day; right now there are still not enough women in those seats.”

When asked how a women in the entertainment industry can remain resilient, Potelwa simply stated that by avoiding comparison and realising one’s own uniqueness and being able to accept a "no" is the recipe for fulfillment.

“No is meant to redirect you, it’s meant to elevate you  and it’s meant to protect you. What is yours will always find you and I think if you go into the entertainment industry or any industry, understanding the word 'no' is going to come at you and disappointments are going to come, then you are better able to handle them and see a way forward when they do come.”

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.