About the awards

The South African WEPs Awards Awards is the first regional awards initiative that recognises companies who are taking action for gender equality in the region aligned to the Women’s Empowerment Principles, with the ultimate objective to make good practices visible and encourage more business to take action by joining the WEPs. 

In Association with

Gender Mainstreaming Awards

Key dates

Close of entries

31 August 2024

Entry submissions close on this day.


10 September 2024

Shortlisted companies are notified.

Awards evening

31 October 2024

Our Awards event will be held at Vodacom World of Events, Midrand.

2024 Categories

 In each of the following categories, one Winner, 1st Runner Up and 2nd Runner up will be awarded.

Scroll over the categories below to access a description of each category. 

Leadership Commitment and Action (Aligned to WEP 1)

This category recognizes leaders (aged 35 and above) in corporations who have been instrumental in setting strong corporate commitments inclusive of progressive polices, regulations or practices that aim to promote gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and/or community.This may include company leaders taking specific roles and responsibilities in promoting gender equality within the company and making public commitments or delivering gender sensitive messages to the public.

Youth Leadership

This special category will recognize youth leaders (under the age of 35 at the time of application)who have made significant contributions to promoting gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and/or community. This category will be highlighted in alignment with UN Women’s global Generation Equality campaign, which was launched in 2020 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and has a strong focus on intergenerational and youth engagement to advance gender equality. Awardees in this category could be a young entrepreneur who developed products and services to advance gender-equality, initiated gender actions to lead their company towards becoming a more gender-inclusive workplace and/or creating a more gender-inclusive supply-chain or market-place, young leaders of start-ups that are promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, or young employees who actively promote gender equality within their organizations.

Gender-inclusive Workplace (Aligned to WEPs 2,3)

This award recognizes achievements that corporations have demonstrated in adopting relevant gender-inclusive measures in the workplace.This may include innovative approaches to equal recruitment, support to provide flexible work arrangements, addressing specific needs of female and male employees,transformational initiatives to support family responsibilities of female and male employees to address the unequal care burden,and accelerative actions to guarantee the safety and well-being of female and male employees,accelerating progress towards equal pay, and promote women’s career development and leadership.

Gender-responsive Marketplace (Aligned to WEPs 4,5)

This category recognizes corporations for embracing a gender-lens throughout their value-chains from sourcing to disposal. This may include championing supplier diversity, gender-inclusive distribution and selling and gender responsive marketing and advertising.It may include supporting women entrepreneurs through capacity development or market access opportunities, implementing progressive programs and/or policies to incentivize procurement from women-owned businesses or other gender-responsive companies. This category will also award actions and programs that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in advertisements and other sales and marketing activities.

Community Engagement and Partnerships (Aligned to WEP 6)

This category recognizes corporate champions that promote gender equality through community engagement and partnerships.This engagement may include integrating gender equality into their sustainability strategies, CSR or philanthropy programs, and especially supporting and collaborating withNGOs, international organizations, or other organizations committed to promoting gender equality within wider communities. Beyond community engagement, this category will also award actions to promote transformational action or systemic change through partnerships. This can include individual companies participating in any advocacy or multi-stakeholder platforms to promote gender equality, such as the Unstereotype Alliance, or also Industry Associations, Chambers of Commerce, and Stock Exchanges working with others working to promote change within and industry or among a large group of companies.

Transparency and Reporting (Aligned to WEP 7)

Tracking performance and progress towards gender equality and women’s economic empowerment is a core value of the WEPs since it allows companies to uphold their commitments to gender equality in the workplace, marketplace, and community. This category recognizes commitment to transparency and reporting of gender data that goes beyond minimum requirements and seeks to measure, analyze and report on performance of their gender policies and practices across the value chain. The category will reward companies and organizations that have accountability frameworks in place and have set targets and consistently reported and taken steps to improve their performance on gender indicators (i.e. recruitment and retention, women in management). This category may also be awarded to companies conducting an audit and analysis of a particular gender-related issue, such as the gender pay gap, or also to companies committing to increase the number of gender indicators they publicly report on each year. In addition, this category may be highly relevant for Industry Associations and Stock Exchanges integrating more gender criteria into their sustainability and/or reporting criteria.

Inclusive Supply Chain and Marketing Excellence Award

This category recognises companies that have demonstrated outstanding commitment and innovative approaches in integrating gender equality into their supply chain and marketing practices. This includes the implementation of inclusive supply chain policies that actively promote women-owned businesses and women entrepreneurs, and the establishment of standards that ensure gender equality across the supply chain. Companies are evaluated based on their diversity in supplier selection, initiatives to support and build the capacity of women suppliers, and the use of marketing campaigns to challenge traditional gender roles and stereotypes. Additionally, this category acknowledges the impact of these marketing practices on social norms, employee and community engagement in gender equality initiatives, and the commitment of senior leadership to these goals.

Special recognition award

While organisations of any size or sector can be awarded, to recognise the valuable contributions of SMEs to the regional economy, three applicants from SMEs (smaller enterprises (< 200 employees)) across the 5 categories will be awarded as a South Africa WEPs Awards SME Champion.


Businesses, companies and enterprises (private, public, state-owned, cooperatives and social enterprises), including subsidiaries of multinationals and/or their branches, industry associations, stock exchanges and chambers of commerce are eligible to apply. *For the Leadership and Youth Leadership awards, we encourage all individuals to apply that are resident in South Africa or a citizen of South Africa.

Selection process

All applications will be submitted online and assessed through a standardised process that includes verification of supporting documents, due diligence, and judging by an external panel of neutral experts. The judging panel will be composed of external professionals with knowledge of the WEPs and private sector practices that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. They will act on a voluntary basis and receive detailed guidance for scoring in an effort to maximize consistency and objectivity.

*The South Africa WEPs Awards represents recognition of exemplary company efforts for gender equality and is limited to a designated category and a specific location and time period. Awarded organisations, alongside their products and services, receiving awards are not endorsed or affiliated with UN Women and being recognised as an Awardee does not constitute a partnership. Claims, statements, or endorsements made by awardees are solely those of the individual or organisation and do not represent official policies or positions of UN Women.