#WomenofUP: ‘Men should play a role in creating a positive work environment for women” – Dr Olebogeng Selebi

Posted on August 06, 2021

Born to a South African father and a Zambian mother, Dr Olebogeng Selebi, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria (UP), considers herself “Zam-African”. “My dad was in exile in Zambia and that’s how he met my mom. I grew up with a very deep, beautiful inter-cultural experience,” she said.

Dr Selebi holds qualifications in the fields of communication, media and economics from the University of Graz in Austria, the University of Porto, Portugal, and the University of Milan in Italy. Her most recent qualification is her PhD in Communication Management from UP.

After obtaining her BCom (Hons) in Communication Management, she worked as a consultant at a communication agency. “I can’t really say I chose my career; I think my career chose me,” she said. “I was a communication consultant before I went into academia, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. So I decided to give academia a try – and I haven’t looked back since!”

For Dr Selebi, the world of work presents numerous challenges to women. “The world of work is not designed for women. The roles we are filling now were traditionally male roles. With that being said, I think some of the challenges that women face in the world of work is adjusting to an environment that wasn’t designed for them. As women, we often have to twist ourselves into a pretzel trying to fit into a mould of what’s expected within our careers.”

She believes that men should provide more support to women in their respective careers. “Diversity is good in the workplace because it brings different perspectives, so if there are males dominating certain fields, the perspectives are limited to those of men. Any modern work environment requires a lot of diversity to succeed, now more than in the past. Additionally, because organisations are still led by men, they should play a greater role in facilitating and creating a positive work environment or work experience for women in the workplace.”

For Dr Selebi, Women’s Month is an acknowledgement of the influence and impact of all the women that have come before. “These are the women who have paved the way for us. I wouldn’t be sitting in this position without the women that came before me.”


- Author Mecayla Maseka

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