The 4IR (4th Industrial Revolution) almost never fails to get conversation going, but how does this effect women in the workplace? Will the impact of 4IR be restrictive for women or does it present and opportunity to change the social norm to empower and equip women.
The effects of 4IR are visible in the workplace in the form of more automation and more people losing their jobs in certain sectors.
How can women equip themselves to be ready for 4 IR and what is the role that SMMEs can play in empowering their female staff? This was the topic at hand at the first Women in 4IR event at Lephalale’s Mogo Club on the 28th and 29th August 2019.
Over 150 young female entrepreneurs gathered at the venue to join in on the country’s conversation. From the onset, it was clear that Lephalale SMMEs were not willing to be left behind.
of support from local municipality
Cllr William Motlwakwane encouraged ladies to write their own story. “The Lephalele Local Municipality is behind you 100%! You have our support” he affirmed the attendees. He also thanked Exxaro for their support and appealed for further engagement between the two stakeholders to ensure that Lephalale doesn’t experience a 4IR blackout.
‘NO ROBOT WILL TAKE YOUR JOB! Critical thinking is key” Nomso Kana
“The overarching thread that runs right through the first to the third industrial revolutions is that, while it has been moving in different epochs, South Africa and South Africans have been excluded”, said guest speaker Nomso Kana, a Nuclear Scientist professional and part of 4IR Advisory Committee to the President of South Africa. Unpacking the school of thought that South Africa has got to participate and influence the direction of 4IR so that we can find solutions to the socio-economic challenges the country faces, Nomso assured attendees that NO ROBOT will take any one’s job! Although the hard hitting reality is that the wheels are moving inexorably and key stakeholders such as SMMEs have got to be ready.
to from here?
Never before has it become so compelling for all South Africans to stand up and participate in shaping 4IR than today. Non-participation may lead to an inaccurate narrative that 4IR is a curse and not an opportunity. Entrepreneurs and society at large should explore how to benefit in this journey. Now is the time for all SSMEs to not only be drivers in the economic development and other spheres of life in communities, but also ensure that 4IR has an African character!