Where are all the women premiers, Mr President?

By admin
22 May 2014

President Jacob Zuma has come under heavy criticism for electing all but one woman premier in the eight provinces the ANC controls.

President Jacob Zuma has come under heavy criticism for electing only one woman premier  in the eight provinces the ANC controls. Sylvia Lucas retains her position as premier of the Northern Cape, making her the only woman the ANC saw fit to lead a province. Following the 2009 elections,  Gauteng, North West, Northern Cape, and Eastern Cape all had female premiers. The premiers were decided at a  special national executive committee (NEC) meeting in Pretoria on Monday.

"It is unacceptable that only one woman has been appointed as a premier in the ANC-run provinces this year.

Even ANC deputy secretary Jessie Duarte criticised the lack of female representation. "It is unacceptable that only one woman has been appointed as a premier in the ANC-run provinces this year. It is a strange outcome which is not an acceptable one," she told reporters in Johannesburg. "I would like to call it a political structural fault line... The fault is with us, and the fault is that we need to deal with the transversal reality of the structure of the ANC at provincial level and make sure parity means exactly that."  The fact that only one female premier  was elected does not mean  were no capable women leaders in the party. "No man is ever groomed to lead anybody, they assume leadership is their God-given birthright. It's wrong. Women can lead as capably and often more capably than men lead."

Meanwhile the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) described the lack of female premiers as  a "clear step backwards in the fight for gender equality." Spokesperson Javu Baloyi  says while the CGE acknowledges the commitment of the ruling party to balance this reduction by appointing more female provincial Legislature Speakers, this is hardly an equivalent substitute or trade-off.  "The post of Legislature Speaker does not bear the same constitutional, legislative and political authority as that of premier," Baloyi said.

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