A call for increased women leadership

2016-10-19 06:00
KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube speaking at the women's conference. Photo: supplied

KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube speaking at the women's conference. Photo: supplied

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THE Institute for Local Government Management (ILGM) held a KZN Women in Local Government Summit last Friday in Ballito.

The summit kicked off with a gala dinner held at the Boathouse in Ballito on Thursday evening.

The summit was organised as an endeavour to achieving 50% women representation in leadership positions within municipalities.

Speaking at the gala dinner, KZN MEC for Social Development Weziwe Thusi said that promoting gender equality and women's active participation in the political, economic and social spheres is central to her roles as an MEC and as the deputy secretary of the ANC Women’s League in KZN.

She commended the South African government for its efforts in the last 20 years of eliminating gender disparities in the workplace and other sectors of society.

Thusi said that the influx of women into positions of power, traditionally dominated by men, and the contributions that women have made in these positions have resulted in greater gender awareness in the country.

“We have also adopted significant legislative reforms and have developed policies and programmes based on the national Constitution and its Bill of Rights, act 108 of 1996, which seek to promote and protect women’s rights in the home, in the community and in the workplace,” she said.

She said that during apartheid women representation in parliament stood at 2, 5% and that in the last 22 years that figure has grown to over 40%.

“In provincial legislatures, female representation has almost doubled. The number of women who have been appointed to senior positions in government has grown significantly,” Thusi said.

However, she said that though the country has made noticeable strides with addressing the issue, the battle against gender disparity has not been won. She added that discrimination against women has become increasingly subtle.

“We currently have approximately 193 female Ward councillors and 677 male ward councillors. We have 481 female PR councillors and 495 male PR councillors.

“The difference between female and male PR councillors is very low, but it is not something that we can celebrate as women because it tells us that political parties do not believe that we are fit enough to represent them as ward candidates,” Thusi said.

Thusi called on an increase in the number of women appointed to senior municipal administration posts to ensure a wider range of perspectives are at play in policy formulation and service delivery.

“While a critical mass of women is necessary to ensure women representation, the quality of representation is just as important,” She said, calling on women to be trained and mentored for these positions.

Speaking on Friday KZN MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube said that South Africa currently ranks 17th out of 145 nations in the Global Gender Gap Report compiled by World Economic Forum (WEF). She said that the report measures the gap between women and men across four areas - namely health and survival, political empowerment, economic participation and educational achievement.

“As things stand, South Africa scores highly in terms of politics and health. However, it ranks 72nd out of 145 countries when it comes to economic participation and opportunity,” she said.

Dube-Ncube said that she noted while having a look at the statistics that in 54 municipalities, only five women occupy the municipal managers’ positions compared to 42 males.

"In 12 of our municipalities, where the organogram provides either for (seven, five or three) senior positions, all are filled by males,” she said.

Dube-Ncube said that there is a need for women in local government who know that they hold the key to the liberation of other women.

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