SAMED Women Empowerment Index and SAMED x YES Youth Portal were launched to empower and elevate Diversity in Medtech

Johannesburg, 11 April 2024 – The South African Medical Technology Industry Association launched two groundbreaking initiatives: the SAMED Women Empowerment Index (WEI) and the SAMED x YES Youth Portal.

The SAMED Women Empowerment Index – a benchmarking tool designed to monitor and encourage progress made towards greater economic inclusion and empowerment of women in the medtech industry – was developed in collaboration with Deloitte. The WEI will establish baseline scores and track these key metrics over time:

  • Women’s employment rates
  • Remuneration levels for women
  • Female representation in leadership positions
  • Women’s ownership in medtech companies
  • Opportunities for women’s development.

Industry executives and influencers among whom were Adv Mikateko Joyce Maluleke, Director General, Department of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities and Futhi Mtoba, Co-Chairperson, Women Economic Assembly (WECONA) and Dr Rolene Wagner, HOD, Eastern Cape Department of Health underscored the urgency of addressing these disparities. Trends that were reflected on during the event show that:

  • Women make up 50.7% of the total SA population but only 45.5% of the employed workforce.
  • South African women only fill 17.3% of CEO and chairperson positions.
  • Only 1-6% of government procurement ends up with women-owned businesses.

Essentially, the numbers indicate a massive underrepresentation of women in economic participation and leadership opportunities. This is substantiated by the World Economic Forum which has reported it will take 150 years to close economic gender gaps.

Scott de Oliviera, chair of SAMED’s Diversity in Medtech committee said: “We presently lack an accurate picture of what this looks like in our sector. The index will establish benchmarks for each of the metrics and thereafter follow and mobilise efforts to promote women into and within our industry. Simply put, we have to hire more women and open equal access for our female peers to educational and professional opportunities within our companies and workplaces.”

The online platform that hosts the index will empower medtech suppliers to access custom-made reports comparing their company scores against industry averages. Moreover, SAMED will issue certificates to participating companies, enhancing their competitiveness in tendering processes.

“These elements of the WEI initiative were designed to present practical business assets that can boost member companies’ competitive advantage and which have a bearing on all operational activities including marketing and procurement. The message we would like to extend to the whole healthcare sector is that women’s inclusion is pro-business and pro-development,” explains Tanya Vogt, SAMED Executive Officer.

According to her, these approaches can tap into the existing and substantial but insufficiently utilised government resources and legislation as well as the intention to channel more government procurement into women-owned businesses.

“SAMED’s commitment to women empowerment is a major component of the industry’s transformation journey that is encompassed in our Diversity in Medtech programme,” said Vogt.

Other SAMED’s transformational interventions include a commitment to WECONA since it was inaugurated in 2022, the creation of more than 2700 youth jobs (64% female youth employees) by 41 SAMED members through the partnership with YES Youth Employment Service and participation in the Skills Village capacity building hubs that lead to income-generating activity for youth, women and persons with disabilities.

The launch of the SAMED x YES Youth Portal marks another significant step towards a more diverse medtech industry. This online platform connects medtech companies with talented young professionals who possess valuable industry experience.

SAMED Chairperson, Peter Mehlape, who leads a multinational member company that has itself benefited from the YES partnership said: “This online resource hosts a pool of talented youth who have already gained experience in our industry. We encourage members who haven’t yet participated in the YES initiative to give it a go. You will be able to skip recruitment fees and fill your vacant positions with young people who have the passion to succeed and understand our field.”

Mehlape added that the SAMED board has consistently championed governance and diversity at board and committee levels, sought to recruit members that are proudly South African entities, promoted localisation of medtech and engaged on B-BBEE and other related legislation in order to assist members with compliance.

The WEI data will be collected through SAMED’s secure Data with Integrity portal, ensuring compliance with data protection regulations. This programme fosters improved decision-making, reporting and industry representation.

Mehlape concluded that SAMED will continue to act as a frontrunner driving positive change within the South African medtech sector. “The WEI and YES Youth Portal empower women and young professionals, paving the way for a more inclusive, successful and future-proofed medtech industry.”