Machel calls for empowerment

2008-07-08 13:35

Johannesburg - The call for women's empowerment in Africa still has to be answered, said Graca Machel in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

"Aside from South Africa where there is a BEE strategy, on the continent of Africa there are very few women involved in the formal economy," the international advocate for women's rights told the Investec Conference for Young Women in Finance.

In many parts of Africa there were no women in mining and no women managing large budgets, she said. Machel called on the delegates to make an important contribution not only to South Africa, but to Africa itself.

Women's empowerment was not about gender alone, but also about "breaking down the walls of inequality and discrimination".

"This is an issue of social justice," said Machel.

SA was one of the most unequal societies in the world, having both extremes of wealth and poverty.

Machel said that women in business faced a challenge in SA. They should also look at the world as a challenge given that inequality was spread throughout the globe.

She urged delegates to look at the possibilities open to their mothers and grandmothers so that they could see the great achievement they represented.