The inaugural Women’s Economic Assembly, which will convene in Gauteng later this week, is part of government’s national effort to change the current situation.
- President Cyril Ramaphosa wants to see greater progress with ensuring full economic participation of women in the country.
- He says effective monitoring is needed to ensure efforts to create economic gender equality translates into tangible growth and sustainability.
- The inaugural Women’s Economic Assembly is part of government’s national effort to change the current situation.
Only ensuring full and equal participation of women in South Africa’s economy will create “meaningful gender equality”, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter on Monday.
“As a country, we have made progress in promoting equality for women in areas like government, civil society, the administration of justice, sport and culture. Unfortunately, we haven’t made the same progress in the economy,” he said.
“There are more men in employment than women. Men are more likely than women to be in paid employment, and women are more likely to be doing unpaid work. According to a report by the National Business Institute, women earn R72 for every R100 earned by a man.”
Ramaphosa points to the latest employment numbers which show the unemployment rate of black African women is the highest at 41%.
The inaugural Women’s Economic Assembly, which will convene in Gauteng later this week, is part of government’s national effort to change the current situation. The assembly will bring together delegates from government, civil society and the private sector to develop a common plan of action for advancing women’s economic empowerment.
Last year, government announced that at least 40% of public sector procurement will go to women-owned businesses. Ramaphosa calls on the private sector to make a similar commitment.
Effective monitoring is, however, needed to ensure this translates to tangible growth and sustainability, in Ramaphosa’s view. He would like to see the financial services sector broaden access to credit and digital financial services like e-commerce and online banking.
He also pointed out that of the 206 000 hectares of state land released in the last year, 54 000 hectares – comprising 78 farms – were made available to women beneficiaries. The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development aims to allocate at least 50% of allotted state land to women.
“We also need to address the inadequate representation of women in managerial positions in the private sector. Some 67% of managerial positions are held by men compared to 33% by women.”