SA will use AU chairmanship to push economic empowerment of women - Ramaphosa
CAPE TOWN - South Africa will use its chairmanship of the African Union to promote the economic empowerment of women, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.
"With the African Continental Free Trade Area coming into operation this year, we have an opportunity to ensure that women and women-owned businesses are able to meaningfully benefit from what will be the world’s largest common market for goods and services," Ramaphosa wrote in his weekly newsletter.
"Just as there can be no real gender equality without economic emancipation for women, so too there can be no sustainable economic growth for any country unless women are full and equal participants."
Ramaphosa will travel to Addis Ababa at the end of the week to attend the summit where South Africa takes of the AU for the coming year.
He pointed out that this coincides with the end of the African Women’s Decade and the 25th anniversary of the World Conference on Women, where UN member countries adopted the Beijing Platform for Action towards greater equality and opportunity for women.
"This is an opportunity for African countries to gauge the progress they have made to protect the fundamental freedoms of women. It is also an opportunity to measure just how far we have come and what more needs to be done to broaden the economic participation of women," said Ramaphosa
He said African nations needed to acknowledge that there were too few women in some industries, notably science, that equal pay for equal work was not adequately respected and women still held lower paid and lower skilled jobs than men, who also did not do their fair share of child-rearing and domestic chores.
"These are some of the inequalities that, together with other African countries, we aim to correct." he said.
"We want to use our term as AU chair to improve women’s representation in economic and political decision-making processes in their home countries, in the AU, in the UN and in other multilateral organisations. We want policy and regulatory harmonisation across AU member countries that promote women’s participation in the labour force but also in creating pathways to self-employment for women."
- African News Agency (ANA)