Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane speaking during the launch of the 2019 Women's Month programme at the Sheraton Hotel yesterday. Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - The Ministry for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities in the Presidency has dedicated this Women's Month to addressing economic empowerment, eradication of gender-based violence and elimination of pay gaps for equal work.

Under the theme “25 Years of Democracy: Growing South Africa Together for Women's Emancipation”, the ministry launched the campaign yesterday in Pretoria.

During the launch, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane set the tone with the hashtag #HearMeToo.

Nkoana-Mashabane said the campaign aimed to get women talking about the real issues they faced; women will also get to engage through traditional and social media platforms.

The ministry also celebrated the bravery of women who marched to the Union Buildings on August 9, 1956, to protest against apartheid pass laws.

Nkoana-Mashabane said South African women deserved to be celebrated every single day because they knew the price of peace and freedom.

The theme is a call to South Africa to reflect on the country's success in achieving gender equality and main-streaming the gender agenda across all sectors: from the arts, sports, politics, the economy, health, land ownership, entrepreneurship and gender dynamics.

It also calls on South Africans to break gender stereotypes and remove barriers that seek to serve misogynistic interests, the minister said.

Women's Month was dedicated to reminding South Africans that freedom did not come cheap, the minister said. “The theme of this year's celebration of Women's Month talks about women's emancipation and where to from here.

“Our focus remains gender-based violence and femicide. I don't know what happened to society, but it is a statistic that has to be changed by law enforcement.

“We also want to liberate women from depending on men for livelihoods.

“Our focus is economic empowerment for women. The beauty of it is that if you empower a woman you empower the nation. Which is why I always say when you see poverty it bears a woman's face because they think of everyone else before thinking of themselves.”

Nkoana-Mashabane encouraged the media, business and society to expose gender inequalities and ensure no space in South Africa tolerates any form of gender discrimination.

EU ambassador Raul de Luzenberger said they shared the country's concern about the high prevalence of domestic and sexual violence against women. “If we do not put an end to the scourge of violence South African women will not be able to realise their basic human rights. Promoting gender equality depends on the collaboration of many stakeholders, civil society and the private sector.”

Pretoria News