Voluntary mechanisms for gender parity are inadequate – Zuma

2012-08-09 12:36

Government plans to increase the employment of women by enforcing the Gender Equality Bill in the private and public sector once the bill becomes law, President Jacob Zuma has said.

Addressing about 21 000 people who gathered at the Union Buildings to celebrate Women’s Day today, Zuma bemoaned the minimal increase in the rate of employment of women in the private sector and said voluntary mechanisms that are in place are “inadequate”.

Government would ensure that the department of women, children and people with disabilities will fast-track the bill, “so that we can enforce gender parity measures across all sectors of society”.

The representation of women in Parliament increased from 27.8% in 1994 to 44.0% in 2009, while the representation of women in provincial legislatures increased from 25.4% to 42.4%.

While the representation of women in the public sector had increased significantly the same could not be said of the private sector, said Zuma.

He decried the recent findings of the 2011 Business Women in Leadership census conducted by the Business Women’s Association of South Africa which showed that gender balance remained elusive in corporate boardrooms.

“The census reveals that although there is an increase in the employment of women in top executive positions, this increase is minimal. What is more disturbing is that there are still companies that have a zero percentage of women representation as directors and executive managers.”

The Tshwane Gospel Choir, Dorothy Masuku and pop singer Chomee kept the crowds warm on the chilly lawns of the Union Buildings.

A re-enactment of the 1956 march took place from the Lilian Ngoyi Square in the centre of Pretoria earlier in the day.

One of President Jacob Zuma’s wives, MaNtuli, led the march to the Union Buildings from Lilian Ngoyi Square, with hundreds of members of the ANC Women’s League, clad in green and black uniforms, behind her.

The theme for this year’s Women’s Day commemoration was “women unite in fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment”.

A women’s monument will be built on Lillian Ngoyi square in Tshwane, a reminder of the struggles for a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa, free of poverty, inequality and unemployment, Zuma said.

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