Gender Links has lashed out at President Jacob Zuma for saying it is not good for women to be single, the Mail&Guardian website reported on Wednesday.
“It's unfortunate that these comments get made during women's month,” Gender Links CEO Colleen Lowe Morna told the website.
“We should be pushing the envelope in this month, but instead it becomes a glorified Mother's Day,” she said.
Zuma made the comments during an interview with Dali Tambo on his television show People of the South, which was aired by SABC3 on Sunday.
The interview was conducted at Zuma's house in Inkandla.
Speaking about his daughter Duduzile's marriage to Lonwabo Sambudla, Zuma said he was happy for her.
“I was also happy because I wouldn't want to stay with daughters who are not getting married, because that in itself is a problem in society. I know that people today think being single is nice. It's actually not right. That's a distortion.
“You've got to have kids. Kids are important to a woman because they actually give an extra training to a woman, to be a mother,” Zuma said.
In the interview, Zuma dined with two of his children - Edward and Duduzile, and her husband.
In the interview, Duduzile told Tambo she once wanted to be a successful businesswoman, but that her priorities had shifted now that she was married with children.
She was also vehemently opposed to allowing her husband to take a second wife.
“No way. Hell no. Not that I don't believe in it. My father practises it. I understand it. I accept it, but it's just not my choice,” she said.
Lisa Vetten, a researcher and analyst on gender and violence, took offence to the implications of Zuma's statement.
“From our experience of counselling women, it increases the likelihood that those women feel pressure to get into relationships and stay in it no matter how abusive, unsatisfying and unfulfilling it maybe.
“They are well aware of the social stigma attached to those who are single,” she told the website.
However, Zuma's biographer Jeremy Gordin was unsurprised: “For him it seems completely in character. His explanation, if he were to make it, would be that he is in favour of good family values, and he thinks having children is good for family cohesion.” - Sapa