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Making women part of the economy

As the country commemorates Women’s Month in August, government is intensifying efforts to ensure that more women benefit from the economy.

Speaking at the launch of Women’s Month, the Minister in The Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, noted the difficult circumstances the women of South Africa face.

“This [Coronavirus Disease] pandemic has further exacerbated the plight of women by increasing women’s economic and social insecurity,” she said.

The Minister added that the economic inclusion of women and their access to the economy should be a priority.

“We have to provide women the key to freeing themselves from shackles of depending on their perpetrators for livelihoods.

“We therefore call on all government departments and the private sector to give 40% of procurement to women-owned business even when there’s no legislation, as we all have a moral duty to have a just an equal society as enshrined in our Constitution.”

She said access to information on how to register a business and do business with the State remains a challenge for many women.

To address this challenge, the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) will embark on a series of radio shows on 11 of South Africa's radio stations.

“The focus is to answer the questions women business owners have, but cannot get answers to, especially in all African languages,” explained Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.

The DWYPD will also host the National Women’s Economic Assembly on 26 August, in partnership with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition; The Presidency and Department of Small Business Development.

“The assembly will put major sectors under the spotlight to evaluate the level of participation of women-owned businesses. We are also beginning to look more into manufacturing, mining and mineral exploration, and women in the green economy.”

The Minister said government is committed to fighting the second pandemic facing the country, that of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF).

“Our priority is the implementation of the National Strategic Plan on GBVF in the context of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on GBVF.”

She called on all South Africans to be part of a collective of change makers who are ensuring equality for women and girls, and realising women’s rights.

The Minister also saluted women from all generations who have been part of the Struggle and made significant contributions to the country’s freedom, democracy and development.

This year Women’s Month is being commemorated under the theme “The Year of Charlotte Maxeke: Realising Women’s Rights”. This is in recognition and celebration of the 150th birthday anniversary of Struggle stalwart Mama Maxeke.a