IN QUOTES | President Cyril Ramaphosa vows to focus on empowering women
President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to focus on empowering women in Africa.
In his latest newsletter, Ramaphosa said SA will use its African Union (AU) chairship to promote women in business, saying there has never been a better time to do so.
Here is his letter in five quotes.
Real gender equality without economic emancipation
“With the African Continental Free Trade Area coming into operation this year, we have an opportunity to ensure that women and women-owned businesses are able to meaningfully benefit from what will be the world’s largest common market for goods and services.
“Just as there can be no real gender equality without economic emancipation for women, so too there can be no sustainable economic growth for any country unless women are full and equal participants.”
Fundamental freedoms of women
“This is an opportunity for African countries to gauge the progress they have made to protect the fundamental freedoms of women.
“It is also an opportunity to measure just how far we have come and what more needs to be done to broaden the economic participation of women.”
Fewer women than men in senior management roles
“We will need to acknowledge, for example, that the principle of equal pay for equal work is still not consistently applied. Women’s participation in certain industries, especially in science and engineering-related fields, is still far lower than that of men.
“Women still carry the highest burden for child care and ‘unpaid work’ in the home. Women still occupy lower-paid and lower-skilled jobs. Despite employment equity legislation, there are fewer women than men in senior management roles, especially in business.”
“Empowering women is not a favour. It is not an option. It is a basic principle cherished by any society founded on human rights.
“It is fundamental to our vision of an Africa that is united, peaceful, prosperous and equal. If, as this year’s African Union chair, SA can lead the organisation to achieve this goal, it will be by far our greatest achievement.”
Eradicating gender-based violence
“Eradicating gender-based violence, advancing affirmative action policies, supporting working mothers through the provision of affordable childcare, parental leave and flexible working hours and making our public spaces safer for women are all necessary if women are to participate meaningfully in economic activity.
“There is much we hope to achieve during our AU chairship. But there can be no greater achievement than giving the women of our continent greater control over their lives and the ability to make decisions to advance greater economic security and personal empowerment.”