Deepa Chibba

General Manager at Abheka Investments

Deepa has worked with Progression over several years, representing her employer group, to advance and empower disadvantaged individuals through a variety of Skills Development programmes.

  • What does Women’s Day mean to you?

For me, Women’s Day is a day to remember and acknowledge the women who, in 1956, marched to the Union Buildings in protest of apartheid laws.  These women showed strength in numbers and the quote that stands out for me from that day is, “Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokotho” translating to: “You strike a woman, you strike a rock.”  Sixty-five years later, Women’s Day has evolved into an ongoing fight for women’s rights and equality.

  • What are your thoughts on the role of women in the workplace?

Women have become fundamental to organisational success and innovation; however South Africa has a way to go with regards to women’s rights and equality in the workplace.  Equal pay, sexual harassment and female representation within top and senior management levels are barriers that corporate South Africa must prioritise and work towards eliminating.

  • As a woman in the corporate world, what are some of the challenges you have had to deal with in your journey?

Women are often seen as the emotional, sensitive beings in the boardroom and constantly need to have a hard-as-nails approach to overcome the stereotypes that follow us into the workplace and to prove ourselves, even though we may be qualified and experienced in our jobs.  Breaking the patriarchy in the corporate world has always been a challenge – especially for young women of colour, the fight is that much tougher.

  • Which female role model inspired you to succeed?

I personally have a great role model in Dr Lesley-Ann Foster who is the Executive Director of Masimanyane Women’s Rights International.  Lesley-Ann is dedicated to breaking the patriarchy and fighting for women’s rights; her perseverance and determination in this fight has been inspiring and eye-opening, over the years.

SHEroes at Work

“The circles of women around us weave invisible nets of love that carry us when we are weak and sing with us when we are strong”