Clicks Group CEO Bertina Engelbrecht won three awards and Clicks Group was a finalist in two categories at the 2023 Gender Mainstreaming Awards which acknowledge and celebrate meaningful representation of women in mainstream business across Africa.
Engelbrecht, who is the first woman to have been appointed as Clicks Group CEO, won the RMB Fearless Thinker Award, the Positive Role Model Award, and the Inclusive Leader Award. RMB’s Africa’s Fearless Thinker award, now in its second year, identifies an individual who is recognised among their colleagues or community for their ground-breaking, innovative thought leadership on tackling gender mainstreaming issues.
In addition, Clicks Group was shortlisted in the Gender Reporting by JSE Listed Companies Award and the Gender Inclusive Workplace category of the inaugural South African Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPS) Awards, which were also awarded as part of the 2023 Gender Mainstreaming Awards. The UN Women’s Empowerment Principles are a set of seven principles for business offering guidance on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The Gender Inclusive Workplace category of the WEPS Awards recognises achievements that businesses have demonstrated in adopting relevant gender-inclusive measures in the workplace.
Gender diversity is a fundamental pillar of Clicks Group’s values and strategic framework, says Engelbrecht. “Our gender diversity initiatives are driven by a deep commitment to social responsibility and a recognition of their substantial positive impact on company performance and profitability.”
Clicks Group prioritises a workplace that is equitable, supportive and inclusive, enforcing a zero-tolerance policy against harassment and violence. “We value and respect every colleague for their unique contributions and foster an environment where all employees can fully realise their potential. This commitment to a world that is fully inclusive is reinforced by a well-defined Code of Conduct and core values that establish the expected behaviors for all staff,” says Engelbrecht.
The group’s Employee Wellness Programme (EWP) raises awareness about gender-based violence while an anonymous and secure whistleblowing facility reinforces transparency and accountability, enabling confidential reporting of concerns.
The company’s workforce reflects its dedication to diversity, with the majority of employees being women. It was also the first listed retail group in South Africa to appoint a black woman as CEO.
“Numerous research studies confirm that gender diversity in leadership is linked to enhanced financial performance and superior team dynamics, reinforcing Clicks Group’s belief that diversity is both a moral imperative and a strategic advantage, driving its ongoing success and profitability,” says Engelbrecht.
Clicks Group, which is a signatory to the Global UN Compact, recognises that its extensive supply chain is an opportunity to invest in and support small, medium and micro-sized enterprises, with the group well ahead of its stated three-year target. As part of its integrated approach to gender mainstreaming, the group has been on a journey to procure more than R 3.5 billion from black owned SMMEs and female-owned suppliers. It exceeded this target in its past financial year, with spend increasing 7.3% to over R4.5bn.
“Corporate South Africa needs to make the make the deliberate effort to address unconscious bias and stereotypes through training and awareness campaigns to ensure that we create an inclusive and supportive environment where every person can thrive unencumbered by prejudiced perceptions,” says Engelbrecht, adding that Clicks Group is delighted to have been recognised for its gender equality efforts.