Source: Democratic Alliance
The Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill, although noble in its intention of empowering women, is potentially unconstitutional and will hurt the poor.

If this Bill is passed, it will require public, private sectors and civil bodies to fill a minimum of 50% of all senior and top management positions with women.

Legislated quotas such as this could amount to a violation of the Constitution. The equality clause of the Constitution prohibits the violation of discrimination on the basis of listed grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.

The Constitution requires a broad reflection of our gender and race composition, not mandatory representation achieved through head-counting.

The DA's approach to diversity is centred on improving access to education and skills training so that all candidates can compete with each other on merit. South Africa cannot achieve real diversity and empowerment through the top-down manipulation of the labour market this Bill seeks to impose.

The DA therefore cannot support this Bill in its current form.

When deliberations on the Bill commence in the Portfolio Committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities, the DA will push for all problematic provisions to be removed.

Helen Lamoela, Shadow Minister of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities

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