New Gender Bill on the cards

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pretoria - The Ministry for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities is developing a new Bill that will enforce gender parity measures across all sectors of society, Minister Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya said on Monday.

Speaking at the launch of this year's Women's Month, Mayende-Sibiya said the Gender Equality Bill will be tabled in Parliament soon and could be in effect as early as next year.

9 August is remembered in South Africa as a day when thousands of women marched to the Union Buildings to demand an end to the infamous pass laws.

Several activities aimed at highlighting the plight and success of women are planned throughout the country. This year also marks the commencement of the decade of the "African Women" as adopted by the African Union.

"Progress has been made in increasing access to education for girls and we have to ensure that skills development programmes focus on empowering women into careers that are still male-dominated," Mayende-Sibiya said.

While progress had been made to improve gender equality, she criticised what she called a steady progress in the representation of women at senior levels of the public service. Women account for 36 percent representation in senior management positions at various government departments and state entities.

She said there was still under representation of women as paid employees and this challenge worsened at top management level of the private sector. "16 years into our democracy we still have white males holding 63 percent of top management positions in the private sector while African women are at less than three percent and coloured and Indians at 1 percent," she said.

President Jacob Zuma is scheduled to attend the main Women's Day commemoration event scheduled to take place in East London on Monday next week.