President champions economic empowerment of women

Friday, August 9, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa says as government moves to address unemployment in the country, it must give special attention to the economic position of women.

“Women are disproportionately affected by unemployment and are in the lowest earning categories, making them vulnerable to poverty.

“It is therefore critical that as we implement measures to address the jobs crisis in this country, we give special attention to the economic position of women,” said President Ramaphosa.

The President was speaking at the national Women’s Day commemoration event in Vryburg, North West.

South Africa marks 9th August as Women’s Day to commemorate the over 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings in protest against pass laws in 1956.

This year’s commemoration took place in the birthplace of Dr Ruth Mompati in the Ruth Mompati District Municipality in the North West. Dr Mompati was a stalwart of the liberation movement, a freedom fighter and a committed gender activist.

According to the figures released last week by Statistics South Africa, the expanded unemployment rate among women stands at 42.5%, while it stands at 35% among men.

In light of this, President Ramaphosa said as government works to implement the agreements of last year’s Jobs Summit it must ensure that it overcomes the disadvantages that confront women in the world of work.

“The empowerment of women remains an important part of our employment equity and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment policies.

“As we expand our work in special economic zones, we will have a specific programme to support women’s participation across the value chain, and bring more women into the Black Industrialists Programme,” said the President. 

Over the last four years, state-owned companies have spent a total of R100 billion on goods and services from women-owned businesses.

President Ramaphosa underscored the importance of SOCs as crucial contributors in providing young women with the skills they need to succeed in a changing economy.

In the last year, state-owned companies enrolled over 2 700 female learners in training programmes to become artisans, technicians and engineers. 

Cabinet recently approved the Gender-Responsive Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring, Evaluation and Auditing Framework.

Under this new framework, all government plans and budgets will have to include gender-specific delivery targets. 

Women and land

President Ramaphosa said one area in which government can have the greatest impact on improving the lives of women, especially rural women, is in access to and ownership of land.

“As we proceed with our land reform programme, we must confront the issue that we are sometimes reluctant to speak about: that women are being denied the right to own land in the name of culture and tradition.

“This is unacceptable, especially in a country where our Constitution guarantees the equality of men and women,” said the President.

President Ramaphosa committed that government will enforce women’s right to land.

“To the women of North West and around the country – in our villages, on our farms and in our cities – I have a message for you today. We will respect and enforce your rights to land.

“Where there are deficiencies in our laws, and with their implementation we will correct them,” said the President. –