Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos on female empowerment in the workplace.

Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos wants a woman to take over his position at the company when he steps down, stating that the mobile operator currently employs many “good-looking women and clever women” in senior positions.

Dos Santos explained his stance on empowering women in the workplace during a recent interview on CliffCentral’s Leadership Platform.

He said African women have a higher tolerance level than men, something he noticed while working for Vodacom in Mozambique.

When Dos Santos came to Cell C after working for Vodacom, he said there were few female-empowerment initiatives at the company – and he promised to change that.

Women have a “bitch switch”

Dos Santos said Cell C’s staff complement currently sits at over 60% female, with many women at a senior executive or management level in the company.

“We have good-looking women, we have clever women, we have smart women, and that has created a different environment,” said Dos Santos.

“I think we have to empower the female individuals. Today a lot of women are independent.”

He stated that Cell C’s next CEO should be a woman.

“I’m hoping that one day when I step down from Cell C, a woman will be the CEO of the company. They have a different way of managing, they have a different way of engaging in meetings, it creates a different dynamic,” he said.

“If I can use the term on your radio station, you know women do have a bitch switch, and boy if you see two women fighting it is worse than two men.”

Miss South Africa interns

Dos Santos said Cell C – which sponsors the Miss South Africa pageant – also offers all Miss SA finalist an internship for a year at the company to assist them in gaining work experience.

“It brought a whole different atmosphere. Can you imagine you got 12 gorgeous women and you say four or five of them walk into your company – do you know what it does to the atmosphere in that company? The men dress better, they shave every morning.”

Dos Santos said the Miss SA contestants who stay at Cell C after their internships are hardworking and loyal, and make valuable contributions to the company.

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