Women of power

Empowerment of women to take centre stage

women empowerment.jpg

Women’s empowerment will take centre stage in the year ahead, says The Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu.

Minister Shabangu tabled the department’s Budget Vote in Parliament, in Cape Town, on Wednesday after President Jacob Zuma's inclusion of women in the economy would take centre stage when he launched the Status of Women in the South African Economy report.

“This directive is significant for the socio-economic empowerment of women and the focus of our department, placing monitoring and evaluation central to the process. Therefore, we expect the economic cluster departments to submit reports as per the directive of the President,” she said.

The Minister said the department will engage various stakeholders, supported by experts, to develop a Gender Responsive Budgeting framework, while also creating internal capacity to do this work.

Minister Shabangu said last year, the department undertook a visit to the Meatlands project in Colesburg and Hanover in the Northern Cape. She said the area is heavily affected by poverty, unemployment and inequality.

“The purpose was to assess the feasibility of a project for women empowerment in agriculture, specifically in feedlot.

“The project was found to be feasible and had the potential to provide a stake for women in this business. An application has been made to the Jobs Fund,” she said.

The Minister said the department, in collaboration with Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), identified communities with high prevalence of violence against women and children.

She said this includes Naauwpoort in the North West, Nyanga in the Western Cape and Nqeshe in the Eastern Cape. 

Minister Shabangu said the department will continue to work in partnership with other departments to implement the Prevention Pillar in the Integrated Programme of Action on Violence against Women and Children by undertaking initiatives towards changing attitudes and behaviour.

“The safety of the elderly women and children remain compromised. Therefore in partnership with the provinces and the private sector, we will contribute towards the safety of elderly women by providing secure doors and windows,” she said.

She said the campaigns against violence against women and children - #365Days and the #CountMeIn – are effective in raising awareness.

The ongoing violence, sexual harassment and intimidation of women, especially in institutions of higher learner, is a cause for concern.

“Society must support the call by students in fighting the scourge.  We will continue to work in partnership with faith based organisations, SANAC [South African National Aids Council] Men’s Sector, men’s organisations and civil society to be counted in the fight against violence against women.

“While violence against women remains a serious concern, it is important to note that the Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCC) are seen as a best practice model. There is therefore a need to expand them to other parts of the country,” she said-SAnews.gov.za

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