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SALGA National Chairperson of the Women’s Commission calls for a rethink in policies end generation inequalities - Women’s Month





Posted: 09 August 2020

The 2020 Women’s Month marks the 64 years in South Africa since the 1956 women’s march to the Union Buildings and provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the generation of women whose struggles laid the foundations for the progress made in empowering women and achieving gender equality to date.  

This year’s Women’s Month is being celebrated under the theme: “Generation Equality: Realising women’s rights for an equal future”.

Conveying a message of support for Women’s Month, SALGA National Chairperson of the Women’s Commission Cllr Maboa-Boltman said, “Several key issues still affect the female gender. For instance, women to date still encounter domestic violence as reported during the lockdown period, unequal pay, sexual harassment in their work stations, parenting issues, schooling for girls, and sanitary towels among other issues.”

As South Africa’s democracy matures and deepens, this has not been matched by commensurate progress in terms of the status of women and girls in society. The challenge remains the translation of policy goals into the lived reality of the majority of women and girls in South Africa. Cllr Flora Maboa-Boltman says the myriad challenges facing women both at home and at the workplace require a rethink in policies, legislation and approaches.  

The Covid-19 pandemic has also exposed serious weaknesses in the fight for generation equality. While the state of disaster was necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, it has also affected the livelihood of millions of women in the informal sector through the loss of income and job losses, amongst others. Equally, South Africa is facing another pandemic of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Femicide, which had continued to raise its ugly head in society. 

If the country is to achieve its goal to build a non-sexist society and achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, systems of unequal gender relations and oppression against women have to be dismantled. This includes setting clear policy goals, ensuring deliberate strategic interventions and the mobilization of strategic partnerships including an active citizenry towards women’s empowerment and gender equality goals. Equality, and more specifically gender equality, need to be put at the heart of all development processes in order to guarantee that decision-making is done conscientiously, without forgetting half of the world’s population when it comes to making decisions that affect all of us. 

Activities for women’s month will focus on elevating the voices of ordinary women across sectors of society under the banner of “What Women Want”.
· A series of weekly policy roundtables (webinars which may include live broadcasts) to focus on South Africa’s gender policy priorities and proposed interventions for 2020 to 2030. 
· National Women’s Day on 9 August, which should take the form of a televised address by the President of the Republic  
· National Women’s Assembly, which will aim to bring together the collective views of the women of South Africa on What Women Want towards the achievement of gender equality by 2030. 
· Distribution of policy briefs for comments by stakeholders. 

  • Mass media campaigns, on What Women Want and need to see implemented to bring about change. 

The SWC encourages women in local government to participate in the Local Government Women Leadership Development Programme. This programme is spearheaded by the SALGA Municipal Capabilities & Governance and is targeted at women in municipal leadership roles as well as those who aspire to be future leaders, both Councillors and municipal officials. The aim is to build women councillors and managers personal agency, capacity, resilience and solidarity to ensure that they are empowered and equipped with the requisite skills and competencies to play a significant role in the attainment of the local government development imperatives as enshrined in the Constitution.

The SALGA Women’s Commission salutes the Women of SALGA and women in local government in general for the role you play in our homes and families, the workplace, communities and society at large. We also acknowledge the meaningful role that the men’s movement can play to behaviour change and the breaking of stereotypes towards the goal of gender equality. Thank you to all the men for their commitment to supporting the call for gender equality.

The Women’s Commission will be participating in a range of virtual platforms and dialogues that will consist of a series of activities to be held throughout the month by government and other sectors of society.  

Happy Women’s Month!

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