'Time to unleash the economic potential of women': Cyril Ramaphosa
When women are on an equal footing with men for economic opportunities, it will be for the good of all.
But this is happening at a snail's pace, particularly in business and academia.
This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, whose weekly newsletter on Monday shone a spotlight on the economic exclusion of women and its effect on the country.
Ramaphosa said emancipating women economically would also be a deterrent to the scourge of gender-based violence ravaging SA.
Economic freedom would enable women to stand on their own, making them less exposed to abuse and exploitation.
Ramaphosa said this agenda was one the country would pursue at a continental level, having assumed the role of AU chair this year.
“It is only when women have their own means, when they can earn their own income, when they have assets to call their own, when they have skills and capabilities, then they are able to fully control their destinies,” said Ramaphosa.
“When we empower women in our society, what we are in effect doing is raising incomes and standards of living, alleviating poverty and building more stable communities.
“By unleashing the economic potential of women, we are unleashing the potential of our economies to grow and benefit all. Investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth.”
Ramaphosa said it was concerning that little had been achieved to change the material conditions of women since the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing.
It was for this reason that this generation had to make it a point that gender equality was achieved before another quarter of a century went by.