Cape Town - 100813 - National Assembly at Parliament in Cape Town - Photo: Matthew Jordaan

Cape Town - A bill that aims to empower women and promote gender equality has been adopted in the National Assembly, the department of women, children and people with disabilities said on Wednesday.

“The Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill calls for the progressive realisation of at least 50 percent representation of women in decision-making structures,” spokesman Motalatale Modiba said.

It was also aimed at improving access to education, training and skills development.

The bill seeks to promote and protect women’s reproductive health, and eliminate discrimination and harmful practices, including gender-based violence.

Minister for Women Lulu Xingwana welcomed the decision to adopt the bill.

“The women of South Africa have said to us that they cannot wait any longer to share in the fruits of our democracy,” she said.

While significant strides had been made to empower women and promote gender equality, a disproportionate burden of the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment was still borne by women.

“It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.”

The bill has now been passed to the National Council of Provinces for further consultations and public hearings.

The bill was adopted on Tuesday.