'SA women still marginalised'

Minister Ebrahim Patel says SA has a long way to go in the area of gender equality.

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel delivers the keynote address at the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants conference at Kyalami Business Park in Johannesburg, Wednesday, 18 July 2012. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

CAPE TOWN - Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel on Thursday warned South Africa will pay the price if women are kept out of the mainstream economy.

He addressed the Women's Parliament at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The minister said South Africa still has a long way to go in the area of gender equality.

He said statistics show that women continue to lag behind in terms of the numbers employed as well as the pay received.

Patel said latest available data showed that an African woman, with a degree, still earn less than white men with only a matric.

Women make up just 4.2 percent of executive directors of listed companies.

Patel said South Africa needs to improve the position of the majority of women, adding the state can play a role by ensuring greater career mobility and equity for all workers.

Earlier, ANC NEC member Baleka Mbethe said government policies still favour men.

She called on officials to empower women.