Government to prioritise women empowerment

Thursday, August 9, 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa says government will prioritise women’s empowerment through its budgeting processes across all departments.

Having tea with elderly citizens, with special guests like struggle veteran Sophia Williams-De Bruyn in attendance – who participated in the 1956 Women’s March – the President also used the occasion to personally thank women veterans for their contribution into the liberation of the country over the years.

The tea, which was also attended by Ministers and Deputy Ministers, took place on Thursday at the Mbekweni Youth Centre, in Paarl in the Western Cape, ahead of the main Women’s Day address by the President.

He said a greater majority of the population of the country continued to live under a very oppressive system of patriarchy and that this must be corrected.

He said to the veterans ahead of having tea with them: “Thank you for continuing to raise the issues that are important, that need to be at the forefront of the agenda of the nation. From the government side, we have a clear mind of what needs to be done. The empowerment of women now needs and will be at the forefront of the agendas of everything that we do.

“It has to be so because this nation will not be able to move ahead an inch unless we empower the women of our country. We respect them and we will demonstrate that we respect them through the programmes, the policies that we adopted and we implement as a government.

“The other important thing that women have brought up is that when we do the budget, the budget of the nation must take into account issues that we have to do with women. That is important,” he said.

The President said while there is the Women’s Ministry that is located in the Presidency, women’s issues cannot be left to her department alone.

He said he will continue to insist that all budgets that are crafted respond to the empowerment of women.

“If it doesn’t, [Ministers] will insist, and I will also insist that we insert the empowerment of women in that budget. That budget must then support the people who are the larger part of our population to ensure that they are lifted out of disempowerment, to make sure that we address the issues that gender-based violence, and all those issues that continue to degrade the women of our country,” he said.

The President said government had a big task ahead in ensuring gender parity and added that it will draw inspiration from the 20 000 women who marched against the apartheid regime on August 9, 1956.

“But like you, in 1956, you took up the cajoles and waged a huge struggle against the apartheid regime. We will also win the struggle. We will empower the women of the country and we will respond to the needs, the aspirations and the demands that the women of our country have because we must do good by the women of our country, government must do good and must do everything that is going to empower them …” –