Making a difference in the lives of young women

As South Africa celebrates National Women’s month, one is reminded yet again of the importance of both celebrating the powerful achievements of women in our country and society and also finding ways to empower our women and girls.

Based in the picturesque Boland town of Paarl, Faure & Faure Inc. is the oldest attorney firm in the area and the fifth oldest attorney firm in South Africa. Established in 1880 by Pieter Hendrik Faure, with offices at 210 Main Road in Paarl, the firm has literally served generations of clients – from great-grandparents to grandchildren!

Contrary to many businesses that continue to operate on traditionally patriarchal management, the firm embraces a spirit of a progressive business structure that promotes equality between colleagues. Three young females serve as attorneys, with one of these women – Marelize Meintjes – serving as a director.

“Be a girl with a mind, a woman with an attitude and a lady with class. In the corporate environment, which is still largely male dominated, females should embrace and protect their femininity,” says Meintjes. “Don’t ever feel that you need to be a guy in order to fit in with the guys. You can be successful by simply being a woman.”

To celebrate their diversity and give back to the Paarl community, Meintjes and her colleague  Inge Johnson visited Klein Nederburg Secondary School on Wednesday, 15 August, to discuss the advantages, challenges and opportunities that women face in business with 350 female scholars.

Government statistics point to the fact that, although one of the constitution’s chief priorities are to promote a 50/50 split between males and females in business, South Africa is still male-dominated, with 56 percent of men being employed in skilled posts. Forty four percent may be regarded as a healthy figure for employed females, however, it still does not reach the designated mark. Inge Johnson believes that women must continue to pursue posts in the corporate world in order to further empower themselves and the female society as a whole.

“The corporate work environment offer many opportunities and challenges. I believe females can overcome these challenges and explore the wonderful opportunities offered in South Africa by discovering what it is that make them unique, and how they can add value. Hard work is also required to develop and master those unique qualities.”

Meintjes and Johnson also distributed female sanitary products amongst the students and gave every individual student a packet of crisps.

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