The Competition Commission of South Africa (“Commission”) continues to earn international recognition, this time for its role in advocating for women’s empowerment.
At the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) gathering recently held in Paris, the Commission received recognition from the global competition regulation community for its resounding research paper on women empowerment through competition law and policy. In the main, the paper highlights the Commission’s work on the Women in Business research project, a culmination of the work the Commission continues to do to ensure greater participation of women in a gender-inclusive economy.
Titled Prioritising gendered public interest considerations, the paper is co-authored by two of the Commission’s senior analysts, Betty Mkatshwa and Sonia Phalatse, and Mpumelelo Tshabalala, senior case manager at the Competition Tribunal, and explores avenues for the incorporation of gender awareness in competition policy and outlines steps of how this can be achieved.
In particular, the paper aims to distil lessons from South Africa’s framework for inclusive competition intended to address the country’s past socio-economic and racial disparities. The research paper provides a reflective analysis of the role of public interest conditions (PICs) in South Africa’s competition policy. It further draws lessons for the country and other comparable jurisdictions on how the inclusion of gender into competition analysis, through the use of PICs, could be effected. The paper is available here.
Notably, the paper advocates for competition authorities and policymakers to prioritise gender equality in their enforcement and advocacy work through measures that do not require policy changes, gather data to build the evidence to support the development of sound economic policies for gender-inclusive markets, and engage key stakeholders to develop a policy framework for adopting gendered considerations in key economic policies and work with the stakeholders to progressively implement those policies.
This paper is one of seven research projects undertaken by practitioners and researchers across the globe with the support of the OECD. The OECD’s Gender Inclusive Competition Policy project has been 2 launched with the support of the Canadian Government and the Canadian Competition Bureau to develop guidance for competition agencies in this area. The OECD is in the process of finalising a policy toolkit that aims to help competition authorities globally on how they can apply gender-inclusive considerations in their work.
The toolkit does not aim to drastically change the way that competition authorities function, instead it encourages authorities to expand their understanding of market dynamics and whether they affect men and women differently. In addition, it helps authorities note gendered considerations in their outcome, so that gender inequalities are reduced rather than exacerbated. For more information on the OECD project click here.
Competition Commissioner Doris Tshepe commended the work undertaken by the OECD on this project, as well as Mkatshwa, Phalatse, and Tshabalala’s participation.