Women urged to play leadership role

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pretoria - Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has called on women to play a central role in South Africa's sustainable development.

Speaking at an Annual African Women in Politics and Leadership Conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday, Dlamini Zuma said advancing and creating leadership opportunities for women was critical in all sectors of society.

However, it was not only the responsibility of women alone. "It is the collective responsibility of both women and men. An American activist, once said, "A nation can rise no higher than its women," she said.

The minister said working towards the emancipation of women was not an act of "charity" but an imperative for any nation if it has to develop to its full potential. The role of women in politics and parties required closer introspection.

"No political party can win an election without the substantial support of women. Therefore, political parties will ignore women at their own peril. Women should recognise and use their strengths, an important one being their numbers".

Dlamini Zuma added that South Africa had done relatively well in the elimination of racism or in the creation of a non racial society, even though much needed to be done.

"We are not doing so well in the creation of a non sexist society. It therefore means women cannot just be members in their parties like our male comrades. Women have to struggle both within the party and outside the party for equality, their rights and emancipation," she said.

Delegates attending the two-day conference are expected to wrap up their deliberations on Thursday