Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi called on the public to stand against all forms of injustice faced by women and girls.
“Patriarchy, gender based violence, poor access to skills development and decent employment,” he said yesterday.
Addressing members of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) during their regional biennial general meeting in Buffalo City, East London, Vavi said despite the many advances the country had made since 1994, women were still economically triply oppressed and exploited.
“They bear the brunt of the crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality, in a society in which white males still dominate the economy and women form the majority of those without jobs and living on the breadline,” he said.
He said they also suffered from outrageous levels of gender-based violence. Vavi claimed a woman is murdered by her male partner every six hours and estimated that at least 150 women are raped each day.
“We saw a grotesque example this week in Ceres, where a four-month-old baby girl was raped. It is hard to find words to describe such depravity,” he said.
Vavi said as teachers, Sadtu members had a special responsibility to wage war on sexism and inculcate humane values and attitudes in future generations.
Vavi said as the country would be celebrating the end of the second decade of democracy, the economy of the country has not been radically transformed to benefit the majority of South Africans.
“The official rate of unemployment is still rising, up from 25,2% in the first three months of 2013 to 25,6% in the second three months, just 0,1% below the highest level ever recorded – 25,7%in the 2nd quarter of 2011,” Vavi said.
He said an aspect of the problem, which must concern the teachers, was that an estimated 72% of the unemployed are young people between 15 and 36 years of age.
“The stark reality is that most of the learners in your classes today, particularly in the poorer areas, have next-to-no chance of finding a job.”
“Even the 5% minority who get access to higher education are not assured of employment,” he said.
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