Woman in a man’s world

“This role has helped me find power as a woman in a man’s world” - Kate Goliath

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According to the latest findings by the second Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE), in South Africa, women account for only 18.8% of business owners, which is a rather distasteful statistic, given that the larger percentage of the South African population are female. That is 980 males per 1 000 females as it stands on the live South Africa Population clock on countrymeters online. This may very well point to the patriarchal culture that continue to penetrate the workplace in South Africa.

In defiance of the aforementioned statistic, there is a women in Johannesburg who forms part of that 18.8%, challenging the patriarchal narrative and who is thriving at it; she is Kate Goliath. 

Kate is the Managing Director [MD] and driving force behind GOLIATH and GOLIATH, the award-winning comedy and entertainment agency in South Africa, renowned for its stand-up comedy. She has a concrete background in public relations, administration and also a strong acumen for engaging performers for prominent gigs as a booker, which makes her a pivotal player [if not the central component] in the success of the company.

Synonymous with the country’s patriarchal business culture, she rigorously passed through all the ranks to acquire her position as MD of the company - from starting out as a PR intern to occupying entry-level positions, to then becoming a respected Marketing Director. Addressing the social construct of patriarchy in the workplace, Kate exudes a positive outlook, stating that it is gradually being eroded.

“There is definitely a culture of patriarchy in the workplace. However, I do think that it is silently being eliminated.”

She says that it is an ideology that need to be driven out of society through active protest against discrimination on gender basis.

“This culture has been ingrained into society and needs to be worked out. The only way to combat it, is to speak up and be heard - to stand up for discrimination as and when it happens. Although it is easier said than done, I do believe that this example will go a long way in giving women hope that things can change,” declares Kate.

Recently, Kate took the initiative to empower professionals in a number of different industries by engaging in leadership facilitation programmes with resourceful individuals holding managerial positions. The focal points of these programmes highlight ‘team purpose’ and ‘leading with a purpose’. She affirms that her role as MD helped in making her facilitation programmes be a lot more effective, especially since she is operating in an industry dominated by men.

“It certainly helps people to listen to you when you say that you are an MD. This role has helped me found power as a woman in a man’s world. The industry that I work in is completely male dominated, so it made it easier for me to navigate and take on that challenge”, says Kate. 

She acknowledges that women have the natural ability to be leaders, which can be enhanced through training.

“We were never taught how [to be leaders], but have acquired it through our intuition and womanly instinct. If we are given the tools to lead in business, imagine the change we can make. It is definitely worth it to see more women in leadership positions,” affirms Kate.

As a mother of two, she does not fall short of her mommy duties either, despite her schedule being a Piccadilly Circus. Ultimately, she accredits her career as the factor that shapes her very existence. 

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Issue 58