A report released by the Commission for Gender Equality has found that women are still victims of harassment and other forms of discrimination in the workplace.
The commission’s Employment Equity report, said the body in a statement, pointed to a dire situation of gender discrimination in the workplace, including inadequate policy adherence that sought to empower women.
“The report has also noted an increase in reported cases of sexual harassment and rape. (We are) also cognisant that there are pay gaps between men and women, yet they are doing the same job with similar qualifications.”
They said that while women constituted more than half the population in the country, they continued 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 said in the statement that they 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.
“(We) appeal 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.”
The commission acknowledged that there was “heightened activism” in addressing gender-based issues.
“(But) 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.”