Thursday, October 31, 2013

South Africa Makes Strides in Narrowing Gender Gap

‘SA makes strides in narrowing gender gap’

October 31, 2013

JOHANNESBURG. – South Africa took the second slot in terms of gender equality, an achievement that has won applause from the African National Women’s League (ANCWL), according to the Global Gender Gap 2013 report released Tuesday by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The Global Gender Gap Index, introduced by the WEF in 2006, is a framework for capturing the magnitude and scope of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress. The report rates Lesotho, for the fourth consecutive year, as the country with the smallest gender gap in Africa. South Africa takes the second slot, followed by Burundi, Mozambique and Malawi as the continent’s most equal societies in terms of gender parity. Burundi is the only country from the east and central Africa region ranked among the top 30 by the Index.

ANCWL Deputy President Nosipho Dorothy Ntwanambi said on Tuesday that it is clear that South Africa took the second slot in terms of narrowing the gender gap because of the government’s commitment to end discrimination against women since 1994.

According to the report, South Africa is the best performing BRICS member and second best performing individual G20 country in closing the gender gap in the areas of health, education, politics and economic equality.

“It is independent research such as this that consistently reaffirms our assertion that South Africa is a better place for women today than it was in 1994,” Ntwanambi said in Johannesburg.

The rankings are designed to create greater awareness among a global audience of the challenges posed by gender gaps and the opportunities created by reducing them.

The Index measures gender-based gaps in access to resources and opportunities in individual countries rather than the actual levels of the available resources and opportunities in those countries.

The ANCWL said that while the country’s performance overall is “praiseworthy”, the league is concerned about the reported decrease in the women’s economic participation and opportunity variable.

Women’s economic participation measures gender equality in labour force participation, wage equality, estimated earned income and nature of work done.

“It is an accepted fact that women in South Africa have and continue to bear the harshest brunt of poverty and thus whilst it is noted that there are improvements in the economic opportunities and participation for women, these must be sustained,” Ntwanambi said.

Women must be found everywhere within the economy, including at it’s commanding heights, ensuring a greater share in economic decision making thus reversing the legacy that left many occupying primarily low-skilled and low-paid sectors, she noted.

According to the ANCWL, the work done by the ANC government since 1994 to fulfil the commitment to end discrimination against women is bearing results.

More girl children than in 1994 are today gaining access to education, passing primary and secondary education and obtaining degrees at universities, ANCWL said.

A social security net which benefits, in excess of 16 million people, 13 million of which are children, has been created.

In South Africa the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill which will enforce gender equity compliance within both government and the private sector is currently being finalised by government.

“While a lot of challenges still remain, particularly the scourge of violence against women and children, it is these and many more successes that we must jealously guard and build on” Ntwanambi said.

– Xinhua.

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