Charlize Theron tackles leadership and empowerment


The PSG Think Big Series is a fascinating collection of dialogues hosted by expert financial journalist, Bruce Whitfield and top PSG executives that feature high-profile speakers, and tackle burning South African concerns in uncertain times.

During a PSG Think Big Series webinar, Oscar-winning and globally acclaimed, South African-born actress, Charlize Theron, discussed the future of women in leadership.

Charlize Theron has used her worldwide renown to advocate for women’s rights and gender equality. Theron has been recognised by the United Nations as a Messenger of Peace, whose focal areas include the preventing of HIV and the elimination of violence against women.

In the webinar, she enlightened the audience on subjects from balancing work and home life, how COVID-19 has affected her world and how social injustice has meant hard conversations in her own home.

COVID-19 and lockdown

“During lockdown I haven’t really done much. It’s been nice to have downtime. The amount of time I have had at home has been valuable… with the kids, the dogs and in my garden. Of course, we have all been worried about what would/will happen. The smart thing was to take a breather and be safe,” she said.

“We had a really tough year with COVID. Focusing on the movie industry, I haven’t done much in terms of filming over lockdown, however, without putting all eggs in one basket, I have lots of work in production… and in finding the next great female voices,” she added.

“I have the mindset that you keep your head down and do your work. It makes life so much easier, and you do not need to be so attached to all the accolades. That’s a good place to be,” she said.

Both Theron and Whitfield shared the same sentiment that people are getting excited to hit the theatres and dress up to go watch a movie.

Social injustice has meant hard conversations

On the topic of social injustice, Whitfield highlighted that women are coming to the fore to take charge of their destiny.

In commenting, Theron said, “The Harvey Weinstein issues and many other issues including gender-based violence, equality etc have been a social wakening. There have been so many things that have woken us up to a lot of social injustices.”

“Change is happening, but more change is needed. All of us are feeling the weight to make sure we are not part of the problems and to rectify some of the issues. The struggle is very real, but things are changing,” she said.

“Organisations are changing and the business of the movie making industry, for example, very much relies on women’s voices. If anything, companies are so hungry to have more of that… realising the importance of women in the industry and developing more material for other actresses. They are starting to understand that this is economical beneficial, and it is a very smart move. We have the ability to write our own narrative,” she added.

Covid has amplified the inequalities. “When looking at the things we are trying to eradicate, for example, HIV, social inequalities etc., there is no way you can compartmentalise anything. You have to view it all holistically. There are so many things that put people in a position where they don’t have a lot of access to the things we take for granted,” emphasised Theron.

“My urge and need to do philanthropy work has always been there. With my kids, and as a parent, the responsibility to leave something better behind is even more, specially when you have two little faces looking at you. It’s for them. For future generations,” she said.

“There are huge divides in society. When looking at the social injustices that have happened and continue to happen, all of us have the responsibility to teach our kids about the world we live in and the history of it… we cannot protect them forever,” she added.

In sharing her final thoughts on the topic, Theron said “Social injustice has meant hard conversations in my own home. My job is to make sure my kids know who they are and where they come from.”

Food for thought

Off the back of Women’s Month, there have been so many things that have woken us up to a lot of social injustices. However, we are reminded that change is happening and all of us have the responsibility to make sure we are not part of the problems and to rectify some of the issues.