SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

The impact of Covid-19 on women and their businesses

Event start: 14:30 2020-08-27 Event start: 16:00 2020-08-27


Virtual webinar


The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is profoundly affecting business, small and micro businesses in particular, many of which are owned and run by women. In addition, women have carried the burden of increased unpaid work: home schooling children following the closure of schools as well as caring for elderly and at-risk family members. Many women have struggled to access the financial support initiatives introduced by the government. These issues will make it far more difficult for many women to recover from the current Covid-19 crisis, compared to their male counterparts. The European Union Delegation to South Africa is hosting a webinar to explore the challenges faced by women-owned business and discuss some of the ways to support women in this time of uncertainty.
This webinar will seek to discuss among other things:
- The role of women in the South African economy.
- The effect of COVID 19 on women, as workers in formal and informal     
  sectors, business owners, and within their household.       
- The care economy and the impact on women.
- Examples of women small business owners’ resilience through the crisis.
- Existing and new  barriers that women face in businesses, in particular with regards to accessing financing.   
- Current and emerging measures put in place to overcome these barriers.
- What changes are needed going forward to support women as workers and business owners.

Some informations about the speakers:

  • Dr Riina Kionka: Dr Kionka arrived in Pretoria in October 2019 to head the EU Delegation to South Africa after having been the chief foreign policy advisor to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk.  Prior to this, Dr Kionka was for a number of years the EU’s Special Representative on Human Rights. Dr Kionka started her working life as a journalist at followed by a number of years working for the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that included a period as Estonia’s ambassador to Germany. Dr Kionka holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from Columbia University (New York City) while having commenced her academic pursuits with a BA in International Relations and German Literature at Michigan State University.

  • Prof Daniela Casale​​​​​​​: Prof Casale works in the School of Economics and Finance at the University of the Witwatersrand where she is a development economist with over 20 years of experience in feminist economics research. She is one of the researchers involved in the large NIDS-CRAM data collection and research project currently underway to track the socio-economic effects of Covid-19 in South Africa. Her work highlights the devastating effect of the crisis on women in particular.

  • Zora Madikizela: Zora Madikizela is a development finance expert and entrepreneur with 28 years of experience. She is the Access to Finance Expert for the EU-funded Ecosystem Development for Small  Enterprise (EDSE) programme and supports the Small Enterprise Funding Agency to catalyse blended finance through targeted technical assistance to existing and new wholesale lending clients through a fund structure.

  • Tracey Chambers: Tracey Chambers is a Chartered Accountant with 25 years’ experience in the corporate and social sector. In 2010, she founded The Clothing Bank, a non-profit organisation which inspires, skills and supports unemployed South Africans to fight poverty in their families. The Clothing Bank project partners with most of South Africa’s major retailers. Their donations of excess merchandise is used to empower unemployed mothers to start retail trading businesses. The Clothing Bank has won many prestigious awards, including: the Western Cape Premier Business Award (2017) – Business of the Year and Social Entrepreneur of the Year; and the Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2016  - an international award aligned to the World Economic Forum

  • Marcelle Gordon: Marcelle Gordon is an anchor on the television news channel eNCA. She earned her stripes as a field radio reporter at the age of 19 and her media journey has included time at Primedia, Supersport, Kaya FM and Jacaranda FM, where she covered some of the biggest news and sports stories at the time. Breakfast Talk Radio Executive Producer, Sports Presenter, Foreign Correspondent, Editor and TV News Anchor, are just some of the hats she has donned during her career spanning more than 20 years. She was Head of Programming of the original team that took talk radio station PowerFM to air in 2013.

    About the EU Delegation to South Africa​​​​​​​

    After the European Union Delegation was established in South Africa after the first democratic elections in 1994, the EU and South Africa saw rapidly expanded cooperation, leading in 2007 to the establishment of the SA-EU Strategic Partnership, a forward looking platform that facilitates wide ranging cooperation between our two parties. The partnership is broad and comprehensive and covers political, trade and development interests. Areas of cooperation include: education, health, climate, energy, the environment, space, the economy, science and innovation, human rights as well as peace and security. Except for consular tasks, the EU Delegation in Pretoria functions like an embassy; it is a diplomatic mission representing the European Union to South Africa together with the Member States of the European Unio.


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