To be game changer in the nurturing and development of women.


  • To identify pipeline of aspiring young women to effectively lead the Financial Services Industry;
  • To provide a support structure and peer networks for black women in the sector through mentorship and learning opportunities;
  • To ensure effective skills transfer and the building of strong, globally competitive women leaders;
  • To be a repository of data on the progression of black women in the sector;
  • To facilitate the pipeline of women to corporate members to ensure they achieve gender diversity; and
  • To serve as a think tank and to contribute towards the broader principles and issues of national interest.

Vision 2020 Objectives

  • To develop and nurture women into senior and leadership positions. Target is 30% at senior levels in Financial Services Sector

– target 30% for women on boards in a Financial Services Sector

  • To serve as a thought leader on issues affecting women in the sector
  • Provide networking opportunities:

– To develop mentorship and coaching program
– To develop and launch the Accredited Leadership Development Program
– To participate and launch woman Gender index in South Africa with IWFSA
– Have a database of empowered and developed women who are ready to take on Senior positions for Corporates who are looking to employ
– To Have at least 200 members who have attended Leadership Programmes facilitated by AWIF

AWIF is headed by Azola Zuma.

AWIF is chapter program of Absip, started in 2006 in order to focus on the development and nurturing of Women in Financial Services Sector.
The founding Champion is Nomkhitha Mqweni, CEO of Absa Wealth. Since it’s inception, AWIF launched mentorship Programmes whereby some leading women in Financial Services a Industry, like Gill Marcus, Governor of Reserve Bank, Gloria Serobe, Founder of Wiphold, signed as mentors.

ABSIP has made the empowerment of black women one of its key strategic objectives. Through specific and targeted activities, ABSIP believes that it can make a meaningful contribution towards the progression of women leaders within the financial sector. Without a well- considered intervention, the a Financial Services is unlikely to have adequate representation of women at top levels of influence in decision-making and growth in the economy.

AWIF seeks to make this intervention, thereby ensuring that women draw on what is unique to their socialisation as women and are able to create a different path to the top.

The 2011-12 Employment equity report illustrates that little progress has been made in the finance and business sector despite that laws and regulations have been enacted by government on employment equity. Black women account for a mere 10 % in top positions and only about 12 % in senior roles. This disproportionate representation is despite the fact that there is considerable pool of black at both a professionally qualified and skilled levels.

When it comes to women in the Financial Services and in fact in the entire corporate sector, there is still much we can achieve in terms of transformation. The role of feminine leadership in the workplace is certainly different in approach from that of male leadership, but no less important. Women traditionally have different priorities depending on different life stages they find themselves in. A career woman in her twenties is very different to one in her forties or fifties. One thing these women do have in common, though, is that they want successful, meaningful careers, and that they are making a contribution to transformation and growth in their industry.

The empowerment of women has an enormous impact on South Africa’s economical success and future. Women clearly are skilled in adapting to an environment of multi-tasking, accountability and Leadership. Women are prone to lead in an ‘inclusive’ style – their dynamics strengthen the importance of Teambuilding. Women are strong Team Players and a force to be reckoned with. The re-launch of AWIF clearly emphasises the importance and undoubted potential women Leaders have to offer in the Financial Sector. The character of a good leader is defined by one’s ability to serve and these AWIF Leaders are focused on serving with honour. AWIF sets stepping stones that enable women Leaders to focus on a powerful vision that leads to a bright future


In 2012, AWIF relaunched and was hosted by Deputy Governor of South African Reserve Bank, Mr Danniel Mminele, at the Reserve Bank in 2012.

Remarkable people lead to remarkable events! Tuesday, May 8 2012 marked another milestone in the transformation of Women Leaders in the Financial Services at the re-launch of ABSIP Women in Focus (AWIF). The Reserve Bank with its fantastic Conference facilities set the scene – the women delegates
added beautiful touches of glamour to this prestigious event and a special evening was off to a great start.
Traditionally women have been the supporting force at home. Times have changed and more women are stepping up to the call of Leadership – leaving their own special fingerprints in the finance sector. Corporations realise women are no longer satisfied to be considered ‘low targets’ or with poor representation in general management. Women are more inspired and qualified than ever to ‘be’ the shift to improvement and are leading this transformation. Statistics clearly highlights the journey these Pioneers amongst women Leaders have travelled. ABSIP President: Ms. Tryphosa Ramano emphasised the importance of pace forward in order for women to fulfil AWIF’s vision.

AWIF acknowledges:

Women in corporate sectors generally are highly qualified – on average high percentages of young women enrol for tertiary education.
It’s unnecessary for women to ‘think/act’ like their male counterparts.
Valuable input women offer in the workforce.
Ms. Zodwa R. Matsau asked a crucial question: “What does it take to lead in a male dominant world?” The answer became clear in Ms. Queen Ramotsehoa’s presentation and feedback of the recent survey and results. Acknowledgement of women’s skills in the success of this country’s economy is at the forefront. Keynote Speaker Ms. Mmakgoshi Phetla-Lekhethe added valuable insight, making it clear that women are a powerful asset to South Africa.

Survey undertaken by AWIF

Having acknowledged that there are too few women leaders in the financial services sectors, AWIF needed to understand the barriers to progress. A survey was commissioned in the first quarter of 2012 to understand the barriers that women face in the workplace. This was a very important exercise in trying to unpack why not much progress has not been made despite the need for women in senior positions. We needed to take a different approach and look inwards in order to ensure that barriers to progress can be unlocked. It is clear that AWIF members are highly qualified and have the requisite technical skills, but there are a number of challenges that members are faced with and these include the following:

  • Mastering self
  • Work life balance
  • Nurturing self and others
  • Relationship building
  • Connecting for success
  • Communicating to succeed

It is within this context that AWIF was re-launched in the second quarter of 2012 to facilitate and create an environment where black professionals can thrive and grow in numbers, and thereby ensure that there is cadre of black women professionals with the requisite technical expertise, managerial and leadership skills. In this process, ABSIP has found it critical to pay particular focus to the growth and representation of black women in the sector.

LAUNCH of AWIF Leadership Development Program

Leadership development programme were also developed alongside Tsheto Leadership academy and Stellenbosch University Business School. The programmes are designed to unlock the challenges/barriers that AWIf members have. The objective of the programme is to build a pool of strong and globally competitive women leaders. They will focus on both the soft and core areas of leadership that seek to build a well-rounded women leader.

2012/13 Leadership Development Program Facilitated by Queen Ramotsehoa
The first programme by Tsheto Leadership and Coaching Academy was implemented in October 2012 and duration was 7 months. The graduates of the first program, completed in 2013 and listed below:


Inaugural Graduating Class of AWIF Leadership Programme (June 2013)
The ladies standing: From left: Mathane Makgatho- ABSIP Executive-AWIF, Tandiwe Njobe, Lulama Tlakula, Luyanda Tetyana, Kyansambo Vundla, Tryphosa Ramano -ABSIP President, Niniza Sithole, Khumo Khaole,Lerato Molefe, Kwanele Radebe,Zanele Semelane- ABSIP Consultant,
Ladies seating: From Left: Queen Ramotshehoa -ABSIP Leadership Training Facilitator, Itumeleng Kgotlagomang, Phumzile Helakane, Faith Sakhele, Mamokete Ramathe