The Department of Women are to host a series of dialogues across the country between March and June this year, in a bid to assess and potentially better the current state of women in South Africa. Despite the institution of various governmental policies and acts to female empowerment and gender equality, many women continue to face discrimination and ridicule on an almost daily basis.
The initiative was official launched by the department in Langa on Sunday, in line with International Women’s Day. It will seek to give voice to all sectors of society, particularly women, to speak up and give their perspective of how the rights of women have progress post-Apartheid, and what challenges still persist.
Department spokesperson, Motalatale Modiba said they were eager to review what improvements have been made in the everyday realities of South African women.
“We know that South Africa has in 20 years of democracy, achieved quite a lot. We have put in place a number of legislations and policies, but still we see that women are not advancing as they should,” he explained, adding that the campaign would seek to uncover what obstacles remained.
This marks the first major campaign of its nature since the department was shifted to the Presidency following last year’s general elections; a sign that government are eager to redress issues of gender equality.
The dialogues are open to all sectors of society, from institutions of higher learning, policy makers, gender activists, as well as ordinary citizens with a vested interest in the issue. Data collected will contribute to any strategies the department may implement to help with the progress of women.
“We want to be able to identify country-specific gender equality issues, needs and opportunities so that we can say that, these are the priorities we as a country should be focusing on,” he stated.
“At the end of the day, we can then begin to say that indeed women are also benefiting from the fruits of democracy,” he said.
Modiba said the department was hoping to see within the next five years, meaningful change in the lives of South African women. This is in terms of economic empowered, as well as other ‘social ills’ they may currently be facing.
“What we are saying is when you are empower a women, you are also empowering her children and the community in which she lives. It is imperative we prioritize the empowerment of women, because we have seen the benefits of this,” he added.
The dialogues will contribute to the department’s first ‘status of women’ report, which may be launched by President Jacob Zuma around the 9th August.
For more information visit the website http://www.women.gov.za/. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)