Johannesburg - South African women still do not enjoy
equality with men, although the situation is slowly improving, a study reported
The study, compiled by Mastercard, found that the overall
index score for the socio-economic equality of women in 2012 was 74.7, a small
improvement from the 74.4 reported in 2011.
"While there are still significant inequalities between
men and women, it is encouraging to see that the overall index score has
improved year-on-year since 2010, signifying increasing socio-economic equality
between men and women," Mastercard Worldwide president Philip Panaino said
in a statement.
The scores are based on a 100-point scale, with a figure
closer to 100 indicating more gender parity to men.
Workplace participation of women in the formal economy was
also lower than that of men. Only about three-quarters of women were involved
in the formal economy when compared to men.
However, more women than men were able to find a way to earn
an income, through casual work, self-employment or business.
The study found that the number of women leaders was far
behind that of men with only 56 women in decision-making positions in
government or companies for every 100 men.
While women made up 52% of the country's population, they
held only 3.6% of CEO positions, 5.5% of chairmanships, and made up just 21.4%
The study found that more South African women than men were
enrolled in a tertiary organisation.
In the case of the University of SA, about 60% of the
student body were women.
Mastercard cited economist Dr Roelof Botha as saying that
South Africa was fifth best in the region when it came to gender equality.
Only Rwanda, Burundi, Namibia and Mauritius performed
He said the South African government's support for gender
equality was an important factor in reaching parity, including the Women
Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill.
"It is encouraging to see the formal steps taken by the
South African government to reduce gender inequality in the country,"
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