JOHANNESBURG – Corporates in the country have been urged to equip young women with essential skills which will propel them on a fulfilling path, inherently fighting the scourge of poverty, gender-based-violence and femicide.
As South Africa commemorates Women's Month in August, and Women's Day on Tuesday, women are still facing a gender-based violence scourge, femicide, high unemployment, as well as lower wages, compared to their male counterparts.
Tshepo Mokoena, the chairperson of the tech multinational company IN2IT Technologies, says they will be backing economic empowerment initiatives to support anti-gender-based-violence and femicide initiatives this August.
Mokoena knows first hand the brutal effects of gender-based violence and femicide.
Five years ago, Mokoena’s niece, Karabo Mokoena, who was a 22-year-old woman, was murdered by her boyfriend Sandile Mantsoe in Sandton.
Mantsoe had tried to conceal her death by burning her body after he had stuffed her in a bin at his Sandton apartment and reported her missing for several days before her body was found.
He had stabbed her to death in his apartment.
Mokoena said finding sustainable job opportunities for young women would prevent them from entering “the ring of abuse and human trafficking”.
“Let us love, respect and support women. As you know, economic reasons contribute immensely to the problem faced by our country and with us empowering young women with skills we are also giving them the power to stand alone and not depend on abusive partners,” he said.
Mokoena said they had a digital skills development program at In2IT Technologies which they were using to back young women and provide support to anti- gender-based-violence and femicide initiatives.
“We are calling for increased efforts to empower young female talent in the ICT sector. We want equal opportunities for women in the sector, and we must promote gender parity at managerial levels.
“Pay them equally as men, in all the fields they share with their male counterparts. Give them leadership roles or an equal opportunity to access leadership roles,” said Mokoena.
He said they would teach essential employment and self-development skills under the banner of “Women’s Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment: Building Back Better for Women’s Improved Resilience”.
Through the initiative, the IT firm hopes to develop strong women “who are effective and don’t need to depend on men”.
He adds: ‘’As IN2IT Technologies we have decided to extend our drive to encourage young women into technology as a career.
“Gender disparity in tech and engineering-related fields is a concern in South Africa, and various initiatives are being implemented by public and private sector players to encourage young girls to join the field.
“Given the fundamental nature of the problem of gender disparity in society, it is paramount that every organisation and individual endeavours to critically reflect and act towards a just society that treats women with the dignity they deserve”.
Mokoena said they had taken over 300 young women graduates in the past two years in various skills programs, ranging from three months or yearly skills programmes in the ICT sector.
"Many youth went through rigorous process of world class certification including 40 who received Cisco certification, while 30 were issued with Huawei’s certification.
“By end of 2023 we aim to add another 200 young graduates to the skills programme.
“Digital skills are no longer optional. They are the lifeblood of the digital economy, which is the reason we believe in empowering young women with skills for the future,” he said.