The private sector is lagging behind in terms of equality, President Jacob Zuma has said.
Speaking during the Women’s Month celebrations in Thulamahashe near Bushbuckridge today, Zuma said the Commission for Employment Equity’s 2013 report indicated that white males occupied 80% of top management positions in the private sector.
“At senior management level, white males account for 69% of all positions. Thus the achievement of equality at both race and gender levels remains stagnant in the private sector,” he said.
Government, Zuma said, was finalising work on the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill, which would enforce gender equity compliance within both government and the private sector.
He said women should participate actively in the economy as entrepreneurs. The president said government wanted to promote access to land ownership for women in order to promote food security for many households in distress.
Zuma said more girls should take up science, technology, engineering and mathematics and more education opportunities should be made available to women and girls.
“We want young women to develop their self-confidence and to seize leadership opportunities,” he said.
Zuma also mentioned government had made progress to achieve its goals to improve women’s standing, and as a result South Africa was occupying the fourth position worldwide with regards to women’s representation, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2012.
“With regards to women’s access to decision making positions, the South African Parliament which had a mere 2.7% representation of women before 1994, now has 42% since the 2009 democratic elections following a consistent improvement after each election.”
Zuma took the opportunity to honour women in leadership positions on the global stage.
» Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (African Union Commission chairperson);
» Former deputy president Baleka Mbete (African Union African Peer Review Mechanism Panel member);
» Former public service and administration minister, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi (Special Envoy on Gender for the African Development Bank);
» Dr Navi Pillay (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights);
» Rashida Manjoor (UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women);
» Former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (UN Undersecretary for Women),
» Sheila Sisulu (United Nations World Food Programme)
» Oscar-winning Hollywood actress Charlize Theron (UN Messenger of Peace)
» Musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka (United Nations Children’s Fund Goodwill Ambassador for Malaria in Africa and also the UN Millennium Development Goals Special Envoy for Africa)
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