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Closing workforce gender gap one girl child at a time, Cell C

Intensifying efforts to help close gender gap in the workforce, the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day took off with a bang with over 700 host companies on board this year.

Many of us let our background define our future. We lose sight of our dreams because of someone telling us that ‘it has never been done before’. These are the piercing words of South African born trailblazer, Asnath Mahapa, the first African woman to become a commercial pilot.

Addressing a group of girl learners at the launch of the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day Thursday, she further charged: “I am here to tell you something, all of you have an inherent ability to become what ever you want to become if you believe in yourself.”     

Now in its 17th edition, this year’s programme follows hot on the heels of a call by President Cyril Ramaphosa for all citizens to play their part in making South Africa a great nation.

The launch event was hosted alongside a series of events countrywide that saw the Office of the Presidency and The Public Protector exposing hundreds of girl learners to work environment as part of the annual initiative.

Office of the Presidency hosted 70 learners as part of the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work

This year’s theme, #MoreThanADay, takes root from a huge concern that one day is just not enough to guide the girls on “the steps they need to help them realize their dreams”.

As such, Cell C has dedicated three days in the year to the programme, starting with the inspirational workshops on Thursday (May 30).

This will be followed by the #WhoAmI self-discovery journey on Friday, July 26, where learners will explore their strengths and future aspirations.

Day three, #EmpowerYourself takes place on Friday, August 30 and will see learners being taught how to use their immediate resources – through the CellCgirl’s CV creator – to help them take their next step in their career journey. 

700 companies signed up to empower girl children

The initiative, which started in 2003 as an internal CSI project for Cell C, now serves as an opportunity for over 700 host organisations who have signed up this year to expose high school learners to available career opportunities and choices. 

Pilot Asnath Mahapa addressing the media at part of the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day launch

Mahapa, who grew up in rural Limpopo in the small village of Matlala – with no access to running water and electricity – is excited to have teamed up with Cell C for this life changing experience.

As the first senior officer of the South African Airways’ Airbus 340, she wants to use the platform to motivate young girls to believe in themselves.

Having made history as the first African woman to acquire a commercial pilot licence back in 1999, her message is that; “just because something has never been done, doesn’t mean you can’t be the first one to do it.”

Excited about the partnership, Suzette van der Merwe, Cell C MD for CSI says Mahapa embodies everything they are trying to achieve as a company.

“Giving up on her dream to become a pilot was simply never an option,” she says, adding: “She faced many obstacles but believed in herself and didn’t give up until she earned her wings. She’s an inspiration, and we are thrilled that she is part of the movement this year.”

Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day: Empowering school girls to dream big

Closing workforce gender gap, slowly but surely

Having impacted millions lives so far, the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day is cognizant of the fact that gender equality is critical to building a shared future, as cited by the International Monetary Fund.

It is no wonder that in 2018, the programme was awarded the Standard Bank Top Women Corporate Citizenship Award’s Top Gender Empowered company category for the second time.

For more information on how to participate in the programme, visit The interactive online platform, which provides educational and employment resources, as well as links to bursaries and internships, can also be accessed by learners who are unable to attend any of the programmes at participating companies.

*For brand focused South African news and heads-up on the great things your favourite lifestyle brands are doing to empower local communities, make sure to visit the Empower SA page daily!


Tankiso Komane
Tankiso Komane
A Tshwane University of Technology journalism graduate, Tankiso Komane has a vast experience in print & broadcast media business and has worked for some of the country’s biggest daily newspapers, including The Sowetan, The Citizen, The Times, and The New Age. Through her varied work as a journalist, notably as a copywriter for SABC1 (On-Air promotions) and as a publicist for Onyx Communications, she has developed an in-depth understanding of the nature of the media business and how to use it for the purpose of exposure. Her expertise in journalism across various disciplines, coupled with a good reputation, has laid the foundation of a new kind "trust in Journalism" as the media ecosystem continues to digitally evolve.
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