Women Empowerment bill passed

The bill provides for all sectors to realise 50 percent representation in decision-making positions.

The Women's Empowerment and Gender Equity Bill has been passed by the National Assembly. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Women's Empowerment and Gender Equity Bill has been passed by the National Assembly.

The bill provides for private sector as well as public bodies to progressively realise 50 percent representation of women in decision-making positions.

But a walkout by Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Members of Parliament (MPs) earlier in the day temporarily stalled the controversial bill's passage.

Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana says the bill is a victory for women.

"Women of South Africa are here to listen and witness this memorable day in Parliament, when we deliberate this piece of legislation that will truly empower them."

But DA MP Emmah More disagrees.

"Empowering a woman starts at community level, not in the boardroom."

The bill provides for a fine of 10 percent of annual turnover for companies which don't comply.

Non-compliant CEOs could be liable for conviction to a jail term of up to five years.