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WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT A FIRM PRIORITY

SA News | 13 October 2023


Although there has been improvement in women’s empowerment since the dawn of democracy, there is a need for improvement in the gender responsiveness of all national departments.


This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa who was appearing at the National Council of Provinces for a Questions for Oral Reply session.


“The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities analyses the draft Annual Performance Plans of various departments each year to assess their responsiveness to gender considerations. The findings indicate gradual improvement since the adoption of the framework in 2019.


“However, the average overall gender responsiveness score for all national departments is at 54 percent, indicating that there is a need for improvement in many departmental programmes, projects and budgets.


“Evaluations of the implementation of the Gender Responsive Planning Budgeting, Monitoring, Evaluation and Auditing Framework have shown improvements in mainstreaming since the framework’s adoption, but progress has not been as fast as desired,” he said.


The President insisted that government is committed to intensifying efforts to afford women more opportunities.


He added, however, that effective political and administrative leadership is crucial to ensuring sustainable and substantive gender mainstreaming across government.


“Several policies and initiatives have been put in place to increase women’s access to finance to promote economic empowerment. Numerous financial institutions and funds have been established to help black South Africans obtain access to loans, some of which have specifically targeted women.


“To support our goal of directing at least 40 percent of procurement in the public sector towards women-owned businesses, the Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme has been training women-owned business across several provinces. At least 6 290 women business owners have been trained on doing business with government, compliance and governance matters.


“Key government departments have integrated gender-responsive procurement in their demand plans and report on this monthly. However, these numbers are still low. Procurement from women-owned enterprises currently stands at 11 percent across the public sector,” he said.


Turning to the challenges women entrepreneurs face – including lack of access to support and gender discrimination – the President said government and the private sector have come together to address these through the establishment of the Women’s Economic Assembly.


“Since its launch in October 2021, the Women Economic Assembly has encouraged industry leaders to set gender transformation targets in each industry, implement existing commitments and increase procurement opportunities for women-owned businesses.


“Through the Women Economic Assembly, billions of Rands have been committed by private sector business to facilitate women’s participation through enterprise development, earmarked funding and supplier off-take agreements.


“All of these efforts, both in government and in the private sector, are seeing progress in gender mainstreaming and the economic empowerment of women. However, there is still much further to go and much work to be done,” President Ramaphosa said.


‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.




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