Catalytic Strategy

The Catalytic Strategy, established in 2019, by the International Women’s Forum South Africa (IWFSA) and the WDB Investment Holdings (WDBIH) (“Joint Partners”) is a transformative initiative, evidence -based advocacy mechanism for Women Economic Justice in South Africa. The Catalytic Strategy aims to identify effective mechanisms for facilitating access to research and leveraging this information to shape South African policy, influence debate and to drive industry and policy change on the critical issues of Women Economic Justice, ultimately inclusive economic growth.


With the generous support of the Anglo-American South Africa, the project endeavours to evaluate the effectiveness of existing legislation in addressing the gender pay gap, advocate for Gender Specific Legislation and recognise companies and individuals who are committed to women advancement and empowerment.

Program Overview

The Catalytic Strategy project aims to dismantle systemic barriers, challenge gender norms, and

promote gender equality within the workplace and society at large.

The three key objectives:

Promoting workplace equity through addressing the Gender Pay Gap.

The strategic interventions to achieve this objective include, advocating Equal Pay, Equal Work, establishment of workplace Gender Equality Agency and development of workplace transformation strategies.

Advocating for women representation in Leadership and Executive positions.

The Joint partners recognize that women are underrepresented in executive and boardroom roles, limiting their influence and perpetuating gender inequalities within organizations.

Enabling the voice of all women: creating awareness with coordinated campaigns.

The strategic interventions for this objective include introducing the annual Leadership advocacy Recognition (Award), hosting an Annual Presidential Inclusive Economy Summit, and managing roundtables and dialogues with other women’s organisations, business forums/associations, labour unions, to get support and buy-in from these broad stakeholders.

The advocacy mechanisms identified include:

  • Research
  • Industry Influence
  • Legislation Influence,
  • Strategic partnerships
  • Institutional Activism, and.
  • Capacity Building

Milestone Achievements

  • Research and Publications: Launched shareholder activism publications with Stellenbosch University.
  • Published “Women on South African Boards” and “The Gender Pay Gap” for policy influence.
  • The 50% Campaign: Established in 2021 to advocate for equal representation and procurement spend on women, and the creation of gender-specific legislation.
  • Financial Sector Transformation Roundtable: Hosted discussions with sector leaders to address diversity and regulatory effectiveness.
  • Legislative Advocacy: Conducted research and proposed legislative amendments to close gender gaps and strengthen women’s economic participation.
  • Leadership Recognition Program: Introduced the WEJ Award to honor companies advancing economic justice for women.

The Inaugural WEJ Event was successfully hosted at the JSE Atrium in Sandton on the 6th December 2023 to be attended by about 60 guests. There were four categories of awards awarded to four companies. One company was unable to attend.

  • The Sustainable Impact Leadership Award was awarded to bpSA in the Energy sector.
  • The Industry Impact Leadership Award was awarded to Motheo Construction Group in the Construction sector.
  • The Innovative Partnership Excellence Award was awarded to Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) in the Development Finance sector.
  • The Emerging Visionary Award was awarded to Soul City Institute in the Social Justice sector.