Women still unequal in SA but situation improving – study

2012-09-26 10:42

South African women still do not enjoy equality with men, although the situation is slowly improving, a study has shown.

The study, compiled by Mastercard, found that the overall index score for the socio-economic equality of women in 2012 was 74.7, a small improvement from the 74.4 reported in 2011.

“While there are still significant inequalities between men and women, it is encouraging to see that the overall index score has improved year-on-year since 2010, signifying increasing socio-economic equality between men and women,” Mastercard Worldwide president Philip Panaino said in a statement.

The scores are based on a 100-point scale, with a figure closer to 100 indicating more gender parity to men.

Workplace participation of women in the formal economy was also lower than that of men.

Only about three-quarters of women were involved in the formal economy when compared to men.

However, more women than men were able to find a way to earn an income, through casual work, self-employment or business.

The study found that the number of women leaders was far behind that of men with only 56 women in decision-making positions in government or companies for every 100 men.

While women made up 52% of the country’s population, they held only 3.6% of CEO positions, 5.5% of chairmanships, and made up just 21.4% of executives.

The study found that more South African women than men were enrolled in a tertiary organisation.

In the case of the University of SA, about 60% of the student body were women.

Mastercard cited economist Dr Roelof Botha as saying that South Africa was fifth best in the region when it came to gender equality.

Only Rwanda, Burundi, Namibia and Mauritius performed better.

He said the South African government’s support for gender equality was an important factor in reaching parity, including the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill.

“It is encouraging to see the formal steps taken by the South African government to reduce gender inequality in the country,” Botha said.


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