• Caught in the debt trap?

    Help us help you by taking our second annual Debt survey and you could win R3 000.

  • Rich man, poor man

    Culture change from below is the only way to overcome poverty, says Leopold Scholtz.

  • Tech bubble talk

    After the tech euphoria of 2013, the fast-moving sector has hit a speed bump.

Data provided by McGregor BFA
All data is delayed
Loading...
See More

Zuma: Women need economic freedom

Aug 09 2011 16:55 Sapa

Related Articles

SA female managers outnumber global peers

'Female leaders must use their power'

Xingwana slates lack of women CEOs

Most law students female, 74% black

 
Johannesburg - The economic empowerment of women in South Africa was under the spotlight on Tuesday as the country commemorated Women's Day.

President Jacob Zuma said statistics showed that not much progress is being made to advance women in the business sector.

Only 4.4% of the chief executive and managing director positions were held by woman and they held 15.8% of all directorships according to the 2011 Women in Corporate Leadership Census of the Business Women's Association.

He said 2011 was the year of economic transformation and job creation and government wanted to see a "visible change" for women from "all walks of life".

He encouraged women to enter industries considered to be traditionally male dominated - such as mining.

"We are however concerned that the target of 10% for women participation in mining was not met, as the recent Mining Charter review has indicated. This means that more work must be done to open this sector for women," he said.

Zuma said the government was aware that women entrepreneurs remained on the periphery of the national economy.

Their participation was low in this area because of poor access to business opportunities, information, financial markets and the knowledge of running a business.

"There are a number of support programmes across government departments, designed to assist women to remedy these constraints. One of these is the promotion of co-operatives especially in rural areas to enable women to participate in the economy," he said.

The ANC also called on businesses to speed up the empowerment of women.

The ruling party expressed "great concern" over the "slow pace" of empowering African women in the workplace - African women account for only 0.8% at top management level.

Democratic Alliance spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko said freedom from oppression was only a reality for a few "fortunate women" in South Africa.

"Women still lack satisfactory access to jobs and economic opportunity that flow from having equal access to skills development and training; women remain more at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS than men, particularly as a consequence of being denied rights over their own bodies in a deeply patriarchal society," she said.

Very bad shape

Economist Mike Schussler said women were not as active in the economy as they should be due to the high adult unemployment rate in the country.

"We have a bigger problem in South Africa. The big problem isn't women, the problem is we have the lowest adult employment rate in the world outside of a war zone," he said.

"Certainly, we are in a very bad shape, for both men and women. Because of the low adult employment rate, women in South Africa are not participating in the economy as they should be."

Schussler said South Africa had done well to empower women on the political side - but lacked on the economic side, with 40.5% of adults not working.

The National Union of Metalworkers' of SA urged women to celebrate women's day "in protest".

"Our country is amongst the most and leading unequal country in the world which manifest itself in the form of high rate of mass unemployment, deepening income inequalities, rising cost of living, ravaged by scourge of HIV/AIDS diseases, high cost of health care, grinding poverty and high cost of transportation which are a burden to the working class and poor women," said spokesperson Castro Ngobese in a statement.

He called on working class women to fight and defeat capitalism, which Numsa believed was the cause of the inequalities in South Africa.

The Inkatha Freedom Party recognised that women needed opportunities to empower themselves economically. Its president, Mangosutho Buthelezi, said South Africa needed to "help our women to help themselves".

DA Limpopo provincial leader Desiree van der Walt said women still made up 70% of those living below the poverty line.

"It is of utmost importance that our government fundamentally improves its approach to land reform. Not only must the government remove all the bureaucratic bottlenecks that hinder a successful land reform, it must make sure that the beneficiaries, especially women are fully capacitated to carry out sustainable and long term agricultural enterprises."
women  |  empowerment
NEXT ON FIN24X

 
 
 

Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
25 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Company Snapshot

We're Talking About: Small Business

Standard Bank is looking for 12 entrepreneurs to participate in a 10-part TV series. They could win a R1m investment into their dream.
 
 

Fewer high-risk election areas - Mthethwa

There are fewer high-risk election areas this year compared to past elections, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has said while visiting Manenberg in Cape Town.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...
Loading...