The advancement of women in South Africa, particularly in the economic sphere, still needed much attention considering the backlogs, says President Jacob Zuma.
Speaking at the Businesswoman of the Year Awards in Sandton, the President noted the “disturbing” picture of female representation in the private sector, particularly the low number of women holding CEO or managing director positions, board chair positions, directorships and executive manager positions.
Steps to redress inequalities
The situation in the public service was not much better, he acknowledged. To address the slow pace of gender transformation, government’s programme of action includes the promotion of gender equality and the advancement of women in all sectors.
“We have introduced the Gender Equality Bill. It will provide the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities with the necessary authority to monitor, review and promote gender equality in all programmes of government and other sectors. This new law will encourage all of us to comply with this imperative in the Constitution,” the President added.
Support for women
Government was trying to provide support mechanisms for women in the economy and would continue to support women-owned enterprises to overcome barriers such as lack of access to finance and technology.
“We will also continue to encourage the development and growth of more women owned enterprises that will take on the opportunities brought about by the localisation initiatives of our Industrial Policy Action Plan. The plan advocates the participation of women-owned enterprises in key industrial sectors. These include chemicals, advanced manufacturing, green energy, agro-processing, metals, and automotive sectors,” he said.