Simone Agulhas

B-BBEE Programme Manager at Oracle Corporation

Oracle Corporation is a long-standing client of Progression and has been implementing ongoing learnership projects with us for several years, with Simone providing consistent leadership and support to ensure long-term success.

  • What does Women’s Day mean to you?

It is a beacon of hope to remember the change we, as women, can effect when we gather. In retrospect, we have come so far and have achieved so much from what once was, but we still have so far to go in creating a world where we have an equal future, free from stigma, stereotypes and especially violence; a future that’s sustainable and peaceful, with equal rights and opportunities for all.

  • What can we do to bring about change for women in this country?

The working landscape is changing and the business world is no longer just a man’s game, but we cannot simply demand equality without understanding the social and local cultural biases that exist. The ideal world for any woman living in South Africa today would be the ability to walk freely without fear of being assaulted. There are many things we as a country need to un-learn in order to do better for the upcoming generation of young women, and it is everybody’s responsibility to take action.

Investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth. When women become leaders, they provide a different set of skills, imaginative perspectives and, importantly, structural and cultural differences that drive effective solutions. This provides prime opportunities for these women to mentor others, create space and pass the baton.

We need to create a world where women and girls no longer have to worry what will happen if they try to live their lives the way they want to live them – whether that’s becoming a web developer, aiming for the highest political office, choosing not to have children or not mimicking male attributes in the workplace in order to be taken seriously. To get us there, we need women at every table where decisions are being made. Women’s full and effective participation and leadership in all areas of life drives progress for everyone. When women lead, we see positive results. Some of the most efficient and exemplary responses to the COVID-19 pandemic were led by women. And women, especially young women, are at the forefront of diverse and inclusive movements online and on the streets for social justice, climate change and equality in all parts of the world.

  • What advice would you give to other women who want to be successful? 

Success is a relative term – define what it means to you. Seek a mentor and coach to help you become the best (insert whatever you want to be), because there is always something to learn. People will try to tell you where your place as a woman should be – your place in the world is wherever you want it to be (even if it is different to the ‘societal norm’). Live on your own terms and do not shrink yourself to fit others’ ideas of you – take up as much space as you want!

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”