Cape Town - Extra measures need to be taken urgently to
hasten the transformation and empowerment of women, the Minister for Women,
Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, said on Tuesday.
Addressing the National Assembly during debate on her budget
vote, Xingwana said while women constituted more than 50% of the population,
they remained "severely" under-represented in decision-making
She said women constitute less than 10% of chief executives
and chairpersons of boards of companies listed on the JSE.
They hold less than 16% of directorships and 21% of
executive management positions.
The number of better performing companies with 25% or more
women directors and executive managers continued to decrease from 58 in 2008 to
37 in 2010.
"We still have 27 JSE-listed companies without even a
single woman at directorship or executive management level. One example is
Checkers, which does not have a single woman in its board despite the vast
majority of its customers and workers being women.
"Clearly there is an urgent need for extra measures to
be taken to hasten the process of transformation and empowerment of
women," said Xingwana.
She said the department is working on the gender equity bill which
will provide the necessary legislative authority to hasten the
empowerment of women.
It will address issues of enforcement and compliance
towards the attainment of the 50/50 gender parity target.
Consultation on the bill is under way and the final draft is to be submitted to cabinet for approval by March 2012.
"The enactment of the gender equality bill will lead to
systemic improvements for women and facilitate the attainment of gender
equality," said Xingwana.