FUCHS highlights the key role of women on Women’s Day

7 August 2023: The world’s largest independent supplier of innovative lubricant solutions, FUCHS LUBRICANTS SOUTH AFRICA celebrates and acknowledges the important role of women in the industry, the economy, and in local communities and families on Women’s Day on 9 August. The 2023 theme is ‘Women’s Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment: Building Back Better for Women’s Improved Resilience’.

Antoneth Makaukau, R&D Chemist, FUCHS

Antoneth conducts research and develops new products in the laboratory. “Having it approved by the product manager is a definite highlight. I am grateful to see the new product being blended and sold every month.” She also designs and carries out experiments to determine how effective new products are, analyses the data obtained to compile detailed reports, and is responsible to reduce non-conforming products.

Having joined FUCHS in 2021 on a fixed-term contract, Antoneth is now a full-time employee. “Since then, I have been learning and growing every day,” she says. She is certified in basic lubrication engineering and has a BTech in Chemical Engineering.

“Gender roles are changing in favour of gender equality. However, in my role we are not there yet due to different backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures, which have played a huge impact on how we see gender roles,” says Antoneth. “One thing I am passionate about is personal development, as it helps me improve in most areas.”

Looking to the future, Antoneth says: “I would like to see more leadership development and more opportunities for women to move up the ladder in the industry. It is also important to mentor talented women who are not given the opportunity to reveal and express their abilities.”

She says: “Women’s Day reminds us that, with all we have, there is still more to achieve. We must continue to acknowledge and honour the importance of the contribution of women. Thus, women who are still struggling to be where they are can see examples of role models, so they know there is hope and a path forward to step into their greatness,” says Antoneth.

Edith Lebogang Sekobane, QC Technician, FUCHS

Edith maintains the quality control (QC) of manufactured products by testing output samples against set specifications. The QC department is a core function of the business, with Edith’s area of responsibility being the QC laboratory and production, where most employees are African.

“We were all mostly brought up to treat our elders in a certain manner and that women cannot, or rather are not allowed to, lead men. In our specific roles, we find these cultural beliefs being contradicted, because we have younger females in senior roles who are expected to lead their teams regardless of age and gender differences.  We must be aware of not bringing these subconscious cultural learnings into the workplace. We encourage equality and mutual respect of everyone’s roles,” says Edith.

Edith has a National Diploma in Analytical Chemistry from the Tshwane University of Technology and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, specialising in mathematics and physical science, from the Mancosa Institute. Only at FUCHS for a year to date, Edith acknowledges she has a long way to go. Her goal is to progress from her current role into a more senior position where she can “implement effective and profitable change in the business.”

With nine years’ work experience under her belt, Edith sees herself as a consummate all-rounder, having worked in sectors as diverse as chemistry, home and personal care, mining, foundries, food and beverage, and automotive. “I have learnt a lot along the way, which affords me the opportunity to bring my diverse knowledge to bear on my current job.”

Edith says that what keeps her passionate about her job is her love to implement and manage quality systems. “The experience I have gained throughout my career in various industries motivates me to bring effective change to my current role in alignment with the company’s vision. In this fast-paced environment where we are required to meet targets under high-pressure conditions and demands, I find that these traits or rather characteristics are crucial to bring balance and order to our department.”

However, Edith says there is more room for change as there are still many projects in the implementation stages that will ensure more positive change is being implemented. “I would also like to see more women in senior roles. It is in a woman’s nature to nurture and multitask, characteristics crucial to getting things done.”

For her, Women’s Day means celebrating the achievements of women and seeking to establish greater gender equality. “We need to recognise what a powerful force we are and celebrate each and every achievement. We should involve ourselves more and speak up more. You are the change you bring, so we should not dim our light. We need to confidently light up every space we find ourselves in and outshine everyone else.”

Kotulo Molefe, QC Technician, FUCHS

Kotulo’s multifaceted role sees her record, analyse, and interpret data; collect, prepare and/or test samples; provide analysis of laboratory observations; ensure the proficient use of technical instruments and equipment; communicate scientific information appropriately, often through digital software; and clean equipment and safely dispose of laboratory waste.

Having a N4 and N6 certificate in chemical engineering, Kotulo started out as a chemical operations learner and is now a permanent QC Technician. “It has been amazing. Growth is visible.” A career highlight has been managing an entire team as an acting QC Supervisor. “It is challenging, but I am learning new skills,” she says.

“Setting and achieving deadlines gives me such a sense of accomplishment. I love creating an organised schedule to complete a task and meet my goals on time,” says Kotulo. “FUCHS has done an amazing job to involve women in everything.”

About evolving diversity in the workplace, she adds: “A change in gender roles has seemingly become a repercussion of equal rights for both genders. Both genders can carry out laboratory duties and achieve amazing results simultaneously.”

For Kotulo, Women’s Day is a day to celebrate and honour the wonderful female warriors in her family, workplace, and in society in general. “It is a day to stand in solidarity with my fellow females, to let them know that they are not alone in their struggles, and to share my story and experiences so they can also feel motivated to pursue their own dreams. In a nutshell, Women’s Day is an annual reminder of how far we have come towards achieving gender equality in the workplace, marketplace, and communities,” she concludes.


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