Source: Independent Online
The empowerment of women and female-owned businesses is integral to the growth of South Africa's economy, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.
“Our youth, both male and female, need to be provided with role models to look up to, so that we can succeed in creating a winning nation of achievers in all fields,” he said.
“We also know that the advancement of women in the country, especially in the economic sphere, still needs a lot of attention given the backlogs.”
Zuma was speaking at the Businesswoman of the Year awards in Johannesburg.
He said the women who had been honoured since the inception of the award were “exceptional”.
“The significance of the awards is that they promote positive images of women as achievers in general, but more especially in the male-dominated business sector.”
He said the 2012 Women in Leadership census report painted “a disturbing picture of female representation” in the private sector.
The report found that women held only 3.6 percent of chief executive or managing director positions, 5.5 percent of board chair positions, 17.1 percent of directorships and 21.4 percent of executive manager positions.
“The situation in the public service is not better,” Zuma said.
The report found that women constituted 58.9 percent of the total workforce in government, but only 0.8 percent at top management and senior management level.
“To address the slow pace of gender transformation, government's programme of action includes the promotion of gender equality and the advancement of women in all sectors,” Zuma said.
“In addition, as government we are trying our best to provide support mechanisms for women in the economy.”
He said the government would continue to support female-owned enterprises.
“We will also continue to encourage the development and growth of more women-owned enterprises that will take on the opportunities brought about by the localisation initiatives of our industrial policy action plan,” Zuma said.
“At a more long-term level, the economic empowerment of women is included in the National Development Plan 1/8which was 3/8 released on 15 August in Parliament by the National Planning Commission.”
The Commission for Gender Equality said on Tuesday it had received a complaint from the Democratic Alliance about remarks Zuma made about women on a television talk show.
“The commission is investigating the complaint and will allow due processes to run its course,” the commission said in a statement.
Zuma made the comments during an interview with Dali Tambo on his television show People of the South, aired by SABC3 last Sunday.
The interview was conducted at Zuma's house in Inkandla.
Speaking about his daughter Duduzile's marriage to Lonwabo Sambudla, Zuma said he was happy for her.
“I was also happy because I wouldn't want to stay with daughters who are not getting married, because that in itself is a problem in society. I know that people today think being single is nice. It's actually not right. That's a distortion,” he said.
“You've got to have kids. Kids are important to a woman because they actually give an extra training to a woman, to be a mother.” - Sapa