Zuma reiterates equal representation of women

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has reiterated government's commitment to equal representation of women.

Addressing a Progressive Women's Movement dinner on Friday, to honour the country's top women achievers, the President said it was not merely about numbers of women but it was a platform from which women can influence meaningful change, and make a difference to the lives of all.

"It has been consistently demonstrated globally that the under-representation of women in politics and decision making positions, has an adverse effect on national development as a whole.

"We should be seeing progressive increases as opposed to regression in terms of representation, particularly at the political level to influence meaningful change," President Zuma said.

He said he was proud that South Africa had 14 women into Ministerial positions, 11 as Deputy Minister and 5 women Premiers, adding that women occupied important positions in all Cabinet clusters. 

"This includes women in portfolios such as correctional services; defence; home affairs; energy international relations and co-operation; mining; public enterprises; science and technology. Women also occupy significant positions in the Economics cluster," he said.

The President said Parliament was ranked high internationally with regard to women's representation. "Our country competes favourably in the list of top 20 most powerful business women across Africa and the world," he said.

President Zuma said all these achievements show that women have proven their worth in many fields that contribute towards the growth and development of the country.

He said government has also went a step further to ensure that the 50/50 representation is met by establishing the new Ministry for Women, Children and People with Disabilities.

The new Ministry will monitor other government departments to ensure the mainstreaming of gender, children's rights, and disability considerations into all programmes of government and other sectors.