Revised gender equality bill to be tabled before Cabinet

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pretoria – Following public consultation on the Draft Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill, a revised bill is expected to be tabled before Cabinet for its consideration ahead of a presentation to the National Assembly.

The draft bill, which was approved by Cabinet last year in August for public consultation, aims to enforce compliance in both government and the private sector in matters of gender mainstreaming and equality.

Presenting her department’s Budget Vote Speech on Wednesday, Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, stressed that the bill was based on the international pacts that South Africa has signed and ratified, including the Beijing Platform for Action, CEDAW, AU Protocol, SADC Gender Protocol, the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

“The draft bill that incorporates inputs from the public participation process was tabled at NEDLAC for negotiations. The revised bill will be tabled in Cabinet for its consideration before presentation to the National Assembly.

“We believe that this bill, once enacted, will become a powerful instrument to advance the objectives of gender equality and women empowerment. It will enforce compliance both within and outside the public service,” Xingwana said.

This bill, she added, will assist to accelerate the engendering of policies and programmes across the public and private sector

She also reassured the department’s commitment to continue to influence policy positions and government programmes to reflect the imperatives of gender equality and women empowerment.

Women Budget Initiative

Xingwana also announced that the Motsepe Foundation had completed a baseline research with the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Trade and Industry and Health in partnership with her department and UN Agencies.

This follows an undertaking made by the department, together with the Motsepe Foundation last year, to pursue the Women Budget Initiative to ensure that the department’s budgeting processes and allocations are gender-responsive.

“Gender responsive budgeting is an essential tool for development, poverty alleviation and redistribution. This output will reinvigorate multi-stakeholder Gender Responsive Budget Analysis in South Africa,” Xingwana noted.

As part of the department’s monitoring mandate, Xingwana said they have developed the Integrated Mainstreaming Framework, as well as sector-specific Monitoring and Evaluation Strategies to monitor progress made in the realisation of the rights and empowerment of all three sectors.

“We have also developed a quarterly reporting tool so that we can be able to determine trends and progress or regression,” she said.

More land must be allocated to women

Xingwana called on the department’s partners across all three spheres of government, in partnership with Commission for Gender Equality, together with the agricultural and business community, to join them in their call that more land must be allocated to women.

“During this year, the year of the women’s movement centenary, we will advocate that more land must be allocated to women. We will ensure that the campaign includes young women and women with disabilities.”

The department continued to work with government departments and state-owned enterprises to facilitate opportunities for women in rural, peri-urban and informal settlements to participate in the economy.

In continuing to support and coordinate the development of rural women in all sectors, Xingwana said that the department will again observe International Day for Rural Women on 15 October this year, to highlight the situation of rural women in South Africa.

It also brings women’s priorities to the attention of the nation, policy makers and the private sector.

With regard to the Traditional Courts Bill, the department will continue to work with rural women and other stakeholders to ensure that the provisions of the bill are consistent with the South African Constitution and protection of the rights of women. –