Xingwana prioritises women empowerment

The women empowerment and gender equity bill is currently before cabinet.

Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana. Picture: SAPA

CAPE TOWN - Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana is pushing for better equity for women this Women's Month.

The ministry wants parliament to pass the Women Empowerment and Gender Equity Bill.

Women make up 52 percent of South Africa's population but they are struggling to break through the management glass ceiling at the workplace.

According to a study which was conducted by the Human Strategy for Business, the number of women placed in new positions in South Africa has remained constant at 30 percent of all candidates placed, despite numerous interventions by government.

The study also revealed that there has been little progress at a senior management level for women.

Xingwana's special adviser, advocate Joyce Maluleke, told the Kieno Kammies Show that the bill will make a difference.

"This bill is going to impact on any piece of legislation that we have in South Africa. Any legislation that is being implemented by any other department - this bill gives the minister powers to monitor and evaluate whether that bill impacts equally on women and men.

"The bill doesn't just focus on the economy, it focuses on health, it focuses on all aspects of women so it will impact on any legislation."

Maluleke said businesses will be compelled by law to abide by the new bill.

"When you look at Section 2 of the bill, it talks about application. Subsection 2 to 5 talks about the designation of certain companies that have to comply. It's going to target certain companies that are able and also that have a bigger impact than just two people who are just partners."

She warned that companies who fail to comply might lose their licences.

Meanwhile, Xingwana has vowed to tackle gender-based violence in the country. She has also called for harsher punishment for the perpetrators.