Minister Nkoana-Mashabane Launches Women’s Month, Calls For Unity

Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on Monday launched Women’s Month 2022.

“Women’s Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment: Building Back Better for Women’s Resilience,” is the theme for this year’s National Women’s Month.

During her address to 1 000 guests in a Women in Waste Management Workshop, Nkoana-Mashabane said the strategic focus of this year’s theme was to advance women’s socio-economic empowerment agenda towards the achievement of gender equality by 2030.

“The theme is in line with South Africa’s constitutional vision and government’s policy priorities as outlined in the National Development Plan and the 2019-2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework,” said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.

The minister reiterated that frank conversations need to be had on the socio-economic empowerment and advancement of women, young women, and women with disabilities in South Africa.

“At the heart of our mandate as the department is to ensure that women, youth and persons with disabilities play an effective role in representation, ownership and control of income generating assets within the economy,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

“We must view their participation as critical to ensuring the objectives of the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan are met.”

“The recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape paint a devastating picture on the effects of choosing to ignore climate change.”

“Now, more than ever, the green economy provides the necessary sustainable frameworks in which we can rebuild our economy in an inclusive manner. We must explore the economic, social and environmental potential of the green economy in driving gender equality.”

The minister said 28 years into democracy women still remain on the periphery of the country’s developmental agenda.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has deepened existing inequalities leaving millions of women at the receiving end of high levels of poverty, increasing food and fuel prices, climate change, unemployment and high rates of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide,” said 

“We find ourselves in a moment of crisis where we need to act collectively to defend the democratic gains that the women of 1956 have worked so hard to achieve.”

“Not so long ago, young women in Krugersdorp were violated and raped while shooting a music video. Unemployment is high in South Africa and to hear that these young women were approached by a group of men who raped and robbed them of their belongings is despicable.”

“We are thankful of the interventions by SA Police Service on the apprehension of suspects and we hope that there will be convictions soon. We are also thankful as the young women are receiving psychosocial support for them and their families to overcome this ordeal.”

In the words of the struggle stalwart, Mme Ida Mntwana: “Let us come out as a united force, let us take our place in the struggle for freedom. If we all put our shoulders to the wheel, the time will come when we will be proud of the acts of women. Let us unite, let us go forward with courage and determination.”