Fairness First News South Africa

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    Ayanda Allie a young beautiful and smart leader

    Ayanda Allie a young beautiful and smart leader

    #FairnessFirst: SheSays launches in Cape Town

    It's not often that my #FairnessFirst column is about an event I've covered, but there is always a first time - this is it! 'Excited. Uplifted. Motivated. Powerful. We've been ready!' These are some of the sentiments I captured on a chilly Thursday evening in April, when the global SheSays initiative launched its Cape Town chapter - the first in Africa and 42nd across the world - at the Red & Yellow Creative School of Business in Salt River...

    Starting with a networking session on the rooftop that offers Insta-worthy views of Devil’s Peak on one end and the Cape harbour on the other, this was an overwhelming mix of the city’s female creative inspirationals and those looking for inspiration.

    At 6:30pm on the dot we moved down into the sheltered auditorium and only then was it clear how many fierce females were in attendance – with a smattering of men, too.

    SheSays is not about 'females-only feminism', after all “we’re not going to pull off our bras and burn them – well, not yet,” said co-organiser of SheSays Cape Town, Anelde Greeff, also editor-in-chief of Eat Out.

    It stands out as a women volunteer network focused on the engagement, education and advancement of female creatives, and is based on three principles:

    1. SheSays is ‘by the people, for the people', so each chapter can do as it likes
    2. It’s based on autonomy
    3. It’s based on doing.

    Co-founder Alessandra Lariu emphasised the importance of conversations that will lead to actions, as SheSays is not about moaning but about doing, learning from each other and helping each other.

    Greeff agreed that the Cape Town chapter is to be an inspiring place, which she says is important as things need to change – we need to put women on top, give young creatives someone to look up to, and have each other’s backs. This momentum started on the night.

    It’s the ultimate networking get-together, offering inspiration and mentorship. Whether you’re a freelancer, recently redundant, on sabbatical or a starry-eyed newbie, this is the movement for you. Here’s why…

    What she says about SheSays

    Attendees tweeted their favourite pearls of wisdom as follows:

    Heléne Lindsay then explained that SheSays ties in with the Red & Yellow ethos of addressing gender imbalance in addition to all imbalances of the past to a better future.

    Lindsay added that there’s further tie-in with the belief that life-long learning is a non-negotiable – we need to keep up-to-date as technology changes the way we work and the way we live.

    85% of the jobs that will be important in 2030 don’t yet exist. There’s no better proof of the need to constantly upskill yourself.

    Next it was time for the panel discussion. Moderated by Dr Dorrian Aiken, we heard from the five females on the panel for the night, all boasting such impressive CVs that there was applause and audible "wow"s from the audience:

    Red & Yellow CEO Nikki Cockcroft; publishing dynamite Ingrid Jones, author Paige Nick; former head of strategy at Saatchi & Saatchi, Tharina Haas; and Sturae Hickley, head of the award-winning ad operations team at Mark1.

    All had different insights to share but one thing in common – a passion for digital and for developing and empowering females in all aspects of their lives. There’s no denying that women are often their own and other women’s harshest critics. It’s time to step away from that judgemental mindset and look to better ourselves by bettering others.

    In the creative industry, which is notoriously fast-paced and cut-throat as it’s based on the “you’re only as good as your last...” way of thinking, you need to be good at what you do, and like what you do. Networking and meeting others in the industry is crucial to getting this right, as you focus on what you can do now to help yourself, both now and in future.
    The best part? Tickets are limited but membership is free and the advice is free-flowing. There’s no cattiness or cliques to crack – simply show up with a smile on your face and join the conversation. I’m hoping to see you at the next one! Speed-mentoring events are also on the cards for the future, so join the group on Facebook and follow the conversation on Twitter at @SheSaysCapeTown and the #SheSaysCT hashtag.

    About Leigh Andrews

    Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.
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