South Africa has made significant strides in promoting women’s rights, addressing gender-based violence and enhancing economic opportunities for women. However, advancing gender equality and empowering women across the nation requires further combined efforts.
At an event hosted by Southern African Women In Leadership (SAWIL) and GIBS, a panel discussed how women are crucial to the country’s development, and outlined the need for the implementation of policies to promote their economic participation and entrepreneurship. “Prioritising women’s economic empowerment will help the country create a more inclusive and equitable society where women have equal opportunities to contribute to the nation’s progress and prosperity,” CEO of SAWIL Seipati Mokhuoa said.
The Women’s March to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 “demonstrated what women can do when they are united. It showed the bravery and courage of women working together,” Prof. Mazwe Majola, CEO of the Worldwide Institute of Leadership and Development, said.
“Even today, we are not going to get anywhere without unity. We must learn from the women of 1956, who put aside their differences,” he said. “It is shameful that we are still talking about the same issues as we were in 1956.”
“I believe in women taking up space and taking leadership positions,” former Miss South Africa 2016 and education activist Ntandoyenkosi Kunene said. “There’s nothing cute about being the only woman in the room.” She advised women to be confident in their own skills and ability, and then to bring others along with them.
Dr Claudelle von Eck, founder of Brave Inflexions and former CEO of the Institute of Internal Auditors, denied that more legislation to assist women was the answer. “Legislation promotes a tick-box approach. Rather, what we need is a deeper understanding of the principles and how we should apply them. We need a common understanding as the South African people. We need to think about the system and think more deeply about the social contract in order to bring about transformation.”