Johannesburg - Women continue to remain "largely oppressed and exploited", according to the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE).
The commission had observed with great interest the heightened activism in addressing gender equality by multi-sector organisations, the CGE said in a statement.
"Informed by its own studies on gender transformation that looked at the mining sector, institutions of higher learning, and various industries, the commission believes there has been minimal progress in addressing gender transformation in the workplace," it said.
"While women constitute 51% of the population in the country they continue to remain largely oppressed and exploited. Women continue to face persistent marginalisation from power and influence. This can be attributed to a range of factors including the influences of South Africa’s colonial history and dominant patriarchal paradigms."
The commission’s employment equity report pointed to a dire situation of gender discrimination in the workplace, such as inadequate policy adherence that sought to empower women. The report also noted an increase in reported cases of sexual harassment and rape. The commission was also aware that there were pay gaps between men and women; yet they were doing the same job with similar qualification.
The commission would continue to support any structure in society that had a deep interest in ensuring that gender discrimination, women empowerment, and career progression of women in the workplace was addressed.
"The CGE appeals to the leaders of the industries to be cognisant of women’s basic human rights such as maternity leave and provision of suitable health and safety personal protective equipment. Trade unions should continue raising women worker rights in the workplaces. We also implore the private sector to strongly consider and share good practices inter-sectorally and across the economic sectors on women employment," the CGE said.