Women-led organisations march to Union Buildings to demand full economic participation
Pretoria - Women-led organisations are demanding decision-makers include women in creating policies and interventions to address gender-based violence.
They also want women brought into the forefront of the economy.
Women of South Africa (Wosa) alongside the ANC Women’s League brought their pleas for the full economic participation and equal pay for women in the country, to the head of state at the Union Buildings.
Advocate Brenda Madumise, the director of the women’s empowerment organisation, Wise 4 Afrika, said they had come to the Union Buildings not only as part of their 16-Days of Activism but to reinforce the call for economic justice and the realisation of gender equality.
Madumise said they were not simply demanding for it to be talked about on comfortable podiums, written in books and spoken of by men, but for gender equality to become a reality for all women in the country.
More than simply demanding change, Madumise said they wanted decision-makers to speak to women as to how to realise the vision.
“The challenges faced by women are endless, they are paid less, found in precarious jobs and they are the face of poverty, constantly being violated on a daily basis physically, emotionally, psychologically and financially.”
“This country is dealing with cases of women being abused endlessly and part of that is because they are not economically independent and rely on partners who are abusive and can’t fend for themselves.”
Madumise said the fight for the liberation and recognition of women as human beings was hard frought but the fighting had to stop at some point.
She said it was for this reason they had researched and put a lot of thought into the memorandum of demands delivered to the Union Buildings.
“Decision-makers need to understand that they can’t continue to make policies and interventions without us. Currently, the economy remains masculine in its design and implementation and we want that to change.”
“We have failed for the last 26 years to hold decision-makers accountable, and we have given them a pass and it can’t continue any more. We are now demanding action and in a way that resonates with what we are looking for as women of this country.”
Their memorandum calls for an economic recovery plan announced recently to adopt a gender lens in its implementation, for legislation and other policy instruments geared at promoting gender quality to be fast-tracked.
For the development of an implementation framework ensuring 40% participation of women procurement and for the fight against gender-based violence to be funded amongst other issues.
With regards to combating the scourge of gender-based violence, Madumise said it was important for everyone to realise that we could not continue to be bystanders and to rather act when we saw it occurring.
“People get away with gender-based violence as it is regarded as a private matter that happens behind high walls. But as long as one individual gets to know what is happening they have the responsibility to report it.”
She said she was equally pleased that the law was being looked into to ensure that not only the victim could report abuses taking place.
“Police need to stop thinking only the victim can report, all of us have a responsibility and obligation even officers who know their neighbours are abusing their partners have to speak up and act.”
Their memorandum was signed and accepted by Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.