On 9 August 1956, as many as 20 000 women from all over South Africa marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, black women, joined by women from all backgrounds, races, and different communities protested the expansion of Apartheid “Pass Laws” to women. Not only did this coming together of women burn pass laws, it gave a pass of freedom to doors that were previously taboo for women to enter.
We have seen significant strides being made by women in the property/ construction industry in past decades as more women continue to integrate themselves in various roles in a very male dominated industry. Seeing women setting the tone and giving men a run for their money as they take up a number of reins in the industry is a sight we enjoy seeing. Whether being employed in senior/ managerial positions or owning businesses, women are making the right noises and taking up space. Women are known to be resourceful, hardworking, resilient and results driven. With just those 4 key characters, women bring new ways of thinking, working, skills, insights and their efforts in making a change in the industry has been significantly impactful over the years.
The ladies behind Peg Projects (with a 100% black female shareholder ship) are no different to these women. Zandi Ngoma (Director at Peg projects), shares her experience and thoughts:
“After completing two years of interior design studies, I decided to explore a different path as I felt I wasn’t quite suited for designing. Following many years of working in varied industries, my heart was still in the design/creative environment however my passion lay in planning and organising. This is how I came upon project management. Although the construction industry is very male dominated, my years of work experience and confidence in my abilities has helped me succeed in this field. I also have to acknowledge the support from my mentors, both male and female, who gave valuable guidance and advice. There is the perception that as a woman you are expected to prove your abilities and value within the work environment. Especially in demanding and high-level positions. Although still very much true, even in 2020, I do believe that with hard work, discipline and perseverance women are continuing to change this perception.”
Imkita Ntshanga, Director at Peg Projects agrees. “Having been in the industry for a few years now I am always surprised by the lack of female representation (especially of colour) in our industry, but I must acknowledge the women who continue to lead us in this direction. While there have been significant and impressive shifts in the male to female ratio in property/ construction, women cannot empower themselves in isolation to men. Unfortunately, we still have to fight and work twice as hard but with the right mind frame and keeping your eye on the goal, anything is possible.”
While one may rightfully argue that it is still a man’s world, it is very important for women to understand that they should never try to equalise themselves to men but to rather maintaining who they authentically are – born leaders who need not be afraid to take their place in the world. In conclusion, we should celebrate how far we have come. We believe in the promise of transformation and as lengthy as the journey may be, woman can confidently say they are well on their way to making and seeing more significant changes in all spaces.
“The only way we’ll see change is if the leadership team enforces the importance of gender diversity at all levels within the organisation.” – Nonhlanhla Mayisela, CEO of Izandla property group and Chair of the WPN.
Peg Projects in partnership with Symmetry is able to offer interior design, tenant installations, procurement, project management and client representation from project inception to close out in commercial spaces. Peg Project’s objective is to successfully develop and achieve project goals within scope, timeframe and budget, through procedures of initiation, planning, execution and regulation.