Former SA deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has accused the South African government of sidelining SA women in issues concerning the economy of the country.
Mlambo-Ngcuka who was speaking during a United Nations Women panel discussion on economic empowerment for women on Wednesday, called on heads of state especially in Africa, to take women’s ministries and initiatives more seriously.
The former deputy described what she called the disengagement between state leaders and the issues facing women, saying “A classical head of state does not think about women and girls as a critical constituency”.
She said during her term as deputy president social issues were overruled by the economic cluster’s agenda, leading to government missing growth targets. She however pointed out that the economic cluster’s goals would be compromised “unless you also take into consideration the needs and the context of the social cluster”.
“When I became deputy president, I tried so hard to sit between these clusters – at that time we were trying to chase the 6% growth GDP per annum, which was quite a tall order in terms of where we are today – and I tried to highlight that it’s not going to happen, not unless you take into consideration the needs and the context of the social cluster.
“The economic cluster tends to be the dominant cluster in government and almost treats the social cluster as a burden.” Mlambo-Ngcuka noted.
Mlambo-Ngcuka who is currently a United Nations deputy secretary-general and executive director at UN Women, is leading the Southern Africa Consultation on Women’s Economic Empowerment which is expected to culminate in a report to UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon in the hope that it will inform policies in United Nations member countries in future.
Mlambo-Ngcuka however noted that government’s planning commission currently did show more recognition of women’s rights.
The political party, in its women’s day message called for gender equality in salary payment in the country by throwing more light on its call for a review of Women’s salaries saying it should be reviewed so that all women can earn the same as men for the same jobs.
Also on that day, President Zuma called for private sectors to assist the government to provide loans to women in rural areas as part of its way of helping to promote the country’s economic development.
The president further noted that the country has made significant changes particularly in the legal status‚ attitudes‚ women’s involvement in decision-making‚ especially at the political level‚ in employment‚ education‚ ownership of homes and businesses‚ the justice system‚ and economic participation.
However, he highlighted the need for South Africa to increase its transformation efforts in order to improve the lives of women