Speaking at the Miss Earth Ambassador Competition, Minister Molelwa said the number of work opportunities created for women had increased when compared to 2012/13, which saw 73 678 work opportunities created.
“We have prioritised support of women-owned sustainable development small, medium and micro enterprises in areas such as secured funding, investment and business management,” Minister Molelwa said.
She said about 300 female learners had benefitted from the Environmental Sustainability Learnership Programme.
Government had awarded 74 bursaries since 2011 and 189 students had been recipients of an external bursary scheme.
“These initiatives have gone a long way towards addressing the skills gap in the environment and reducing unemployment, especially of young women,” Minister Molelwa said.
In 2013, the Department of Environmental Affairs established a unique skills development and job creation pilot project, Groen Sebenza.
The project offered unemployed graduates and school-leavers the opportunity to work in the biodiversity sector.
“Our National Green Fund has injected much needed funding into women-headed green economy projects like the Muthi Futhi project in Edakeni, near Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal.
“Here a group of rural women are pioneering the commercial production of selected indigenous traditional medicinal plants, with the sale of herbal products ensuring a fully functional and operational enterprise that provides green jobs,” Minister Molelwa said.
She said government was supporting a 100 percent owned women projects in Mandeni in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Bema Bamboo project produced top-quality Beema Bamboo biomass feedstock.
“We are supporting a host of other projects around the country that promote environmental conservation, but at the same time impart skills to women in sectors such as wetland conservation and rehabilitation,” Minister Molelwa said.