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Gender Equality in the Spotlight During August
Source: The Good News
Source Date: Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Focus: Public Administration Schools, Thematic Website, Institution and HR Management
Country: South Africa
Created: Aug 04, 2010


This follows the Minister of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya’s announcement on Monday, that a new bill to enforce gender equality measures across all sectors of society will be tabled in Parliament.

Speaking at the launch of this year's women's month, Mayende-Sibiya said the Gender Equality Bill will be tabled in Parliament soon and could be in effect as early as next year.

The good news comes in the wake of the country’s commemoration of the thousands of brave woman who marched to the Union Buildings to demand an end to the infamous pass laws on August 9, in 1950.

And the bill will supplement the amount of progress that has already been made in the country since then.

According to a statement issued by the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, there has been improvement in socio-economic equality between men and women in South Africa, although the department would like to see more being done. The Index saw South Africa's score increase by almost six points from 87,96 to 93,5 between 2009 and 2010.

This signified increasing equality between men and women as measured according to four key indicators: labour force participation, tertiary education, managerial positions and income. These indicators reflect how close or far women in South Africa are to achieving socio-economic parity with their male counterparts.

The indicator relating to labour force participation increased minimally from 75,45 in 2009 to 75,85 in 2010; while the indicator relating to the management positions increased 11 points to 75,04 and the indicator relating to income increased nine points from 82,22 to 91,12, for the same timeframe.

"While these three scores indicate that women still feel an overall sense of inequality to their male counterparts, it does show that more women are participating in the labour force, perceiving themselves as holding managerial positions and earning above median incomes compared to the previous year," said Anthony West, senior vice president and general manager Africa: MasterCard Worldwide.

On the other hand, the indicator that measured tertiary education enrolment rates showed that a higher proportion of women were enrolling for tertiary education than men (131.98), with the number of women per 100 men growing consistently since 2007.
 
However what is evident is that fewer women than men are holding managerial positions. This was a concern highlighted by the Minister.

"Progress has been made in increasing access to education for girls and we have to ensure that skills development programmes that focus on empowering women into careers that are still male-dominated are put in place," Mayende-Sibiya suggested.

She criticized the representation of women at senior levels of public service. Women account for 36 percent representation in senior management positions at various government departments and state entities.

She also lamented that there was still under-representation of women as paid employees and this challenge worsened at top management level of the private sector. "Sixteen years into our democracy we still have white males holding 63 percent of top management positions in the private sector while African women are at less than three percent and Coloured and Indians at one percent," she pointed out.

Several activities aimed at highlighting the plight and success of women are planned throughout the country.

This year also marks the commencement of the decade of the "African Women" as adopted by the African Union. President Jacob Zuma is scheduled to attend the main Women's Day commemoration event scheduled to take place in East London on Monday next week.

 

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