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South Africa Aims For Gender Equality By 2030

This year, National Women’s Day will be celebrated virtually. The question is, what is the government doing to create change in a country dealing with high rates of gender-based violence and femicide?

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Minister of Women, Youth and persons with disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane delivered a speech speaking of her department's plans to introduce sustainable programmes and an economic recovery plan for women.

She paid tribute to women who fought against patriarchy, and encouraged future generations to draw inspiration from them.

The Minister introduced the theme for this year's celebration of women's month as "Generation Equality: Realizing Women's Rights For An Equal Future"

She said the concept of "Generation Equality" is a global campaign that links South Africa to the global efforts being made to achieve gender equality by 2030.

There seemed to be no explanation of what the government considers as gender equality and what this would look like by 2030.

Instead, the Minister announced that sustainable programmes will be set up to help achieve this goal.

"Together with civil society we are establishing Action Coalitions which will work to drive visible change for women in our country, in the continent of Africa and the world at large."

The department's focus will be intersectionality because women, youth and people living with disabilities continue to face many forms of challenges and discrimination in society.

These groups have been hit hard by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, gender-based violence and femicide.

Nkoana-Mashabane said her department plans to put women at the centre of the government's Economic Recovery Plan.

"We want to hear the voices of women in rural areas, in informal settlements, young women and girls, elderly women, women with disabilities, women workers, women in the LGBTQIA community, women in the faith-based communities, women in traditional leadership, women professionals and across all other sectors."

She called for changemakers to continue finding ways to empower women.

"Be a part of a generation that ends gender inequality. We have to strive to dismantle patriarchy as the main cause of many injustices women face on a daily basis"

Minister Bheki Cele responded to Minister Nkoana-Mashabane’s speech. 

He said gender-based violence and femicide are a display of a dysfunctional society, as women are unsafe in their own homes.

“Gender based violence and femicide is a shameful reflection of some men that walk amongst us and how they treat those they claim to love behind closed doors”

“The truth is that police alone are never going to end the brutality and violence against women.”

He described June as a “terrible month” as 29 women were killed during that month.

He said all of those who committed the crimes were arrested and had some kind of relation to the victim.

“The issue here is about men. Men must really take charge of themselves”

Cele said all South Africans have a responsibility to fight gender-based violence, and all people need to contribute solutions towards the fight.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane's speech left much to be desired. Many goals have been set, but only time will tell how successful the government will be at achieving its plan to bring about gender equality. 

 

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