UGU District Municipality was honoured and recognised for ensuring that a large portion of the municipal workforce are women. Our municipality was accordingly awarded at the 14th annual Standard Bank Top Women Awards at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg last Thursday.The municipality was a finalist in the Top Gender Empowered: Municipality Award Category, competing against Makana and Nyandeni Local municipalities. The municipality was awarded for ensuring that women formed an integral part of our workforce and are supported to rise to supervisory and management positions through coaching and mentoring.We are also proud to announce that our general manager: corporate services, Vuyiwe Tsako, was also a nominee in the Female Public Sector Leader Awards, which sought for true leaders in parastatals and government.To attest that our municipality deserves such an award, women empowerment in our organisation and the district forms an essential part in the growth of our district and ensuring that we move it forward. Key management positions in the municipality are occupied by women. We are proud to pronounce that four municipality departments - water services, treasury, infrastructure and economic development and corporative services - are headed by women. We continue to implement programmes both internally and externally to advance women empowerment and bridge the inequality gap. We have numerous female employees who have moved from general worker positions to qualified positions.We will soon be launching a pilot project and employed nearly 400 rural women from disadvantaged backgrounds whose duty will be to clean our water and sanitation infrastructures in rural areas two days a week at a reasonable stipend.The municipality will continue ensuring that women empowerment forms part of the district’s developmental agenda and through women empowerment we are also able to fight the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality.