Govt. fast-tracking Gender Equality Bill

President Jacob Zuma says Govt. has made inroads in improving the lives of women.

The ANC Women’s League at the Charlotte Maxeke memorial address delivered by President Jacob Zuma in honour of women’s month at the University of the Free State on 4 August, 2012. Picture: Theo Nkonki/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma on Thursday said while there is still much to be done, government is satisfied with the progress made in improving women's status and quality of life.

He addressed Women's Day celebrations at the Union Buildings in Pretoria earlier.

In 1956, thousands of women matched to the Union Buildings to hand over a petition against the carrying of passes by women to then Prime Minister, J.G Strijdom.

The president said government is fast-tracking the Gender Equality Bill, because voluntary compliance mechanisms are not working.

"We can enforce gender parity measures across all sectors of society."

Zuma says women's rights are recognised.

"It is a matter of considerable pride that many of the rights and freedoms women fought for are now entrenched in the constitution."

Meanwhile, some Cape Town women, who have had the courage to leave abusive relationships, urged others to do the same.

Several women from two local shelters were treated to a day of pampering at the Cape Town Civic Centre earlier.

The city's metro police hosted residents of the Saartjie Baartman and sisters incorporated shelters.

A 27-year-old woman, who wishes to be known only as Lucky, said abused women have to realize there is hope.

Lucky said she was often attacked by her partner.

"It was horrible. He said things to me that actually hurt me so deep inside."