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Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane's Message on Women's Day

09 August 2013

This year we celebrate the Women’s Month under the theme “A Centenary of Working Together for Women Empowerment and Gender Equality, on the eve of 20 years of Democracy”. There are celebrations organized in DIRCO to also reflect on the role of women who have pioneered the emancipation of all women and South Africans at large. These are women such as Lilian Ngoyi, Charlotte Maxeke, Helen Joseph, Amina Cachalia, who understood that the struggle for women’s emancipation was intrinsically linked with the emancipation of our society as a whole. These gallant women continue to serve as beacons for the young women of today to know that in life hard work and strategic interventions pay dividends.

As a Department we are committed to carrying on the work that these women initiated within the public sphere and also in the international arena. As a country we continue to play an active part in various national and international governance structures that promote the rights and responsibilities of women. Such structures as the Commission for Gender Equality; the African Union’s and United Nations’ Gender Commissions that strive to ensure safety and health are provided for women around the world.

In the recent past we witnessed the election and appointment of two African women to senior positions globally and regionally, namely: Dr Nkosana Zuma and Ms.  Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. The achievements of these great African women are feathers in the caps of all Africans in the continent and Diaspora.  We need to work hard and support the work they do by ensuring that we fulfill our obligations in these premier structures where they serve.

As DIRCO, we are working together to ensure that our Departmental instruments are aligned to the national policy framework on women empowerment and gender mainstreaming. In this regard the newly established Special Programmes Unit, formally known as Chief Directorate: Gender, focuses on designated sectors such as women, people living with disabilities and youth, will be capacitated and resourced to fulfil its obligations. To demonstrate its commitment in addressing issues of women mainstreaming, the Special Programmes Unit is in the process of ensuring the creation of a Departmental Women’s Forum. The final details of its establishment and functioning should be completed shortly. The Department will ensure that enough capacity is given to gender mainstreaming.

We further need to send a clear message out there that issues of gender mainstreaming are not arcane and esoteric. They are issues that should be prioritized in every single activity conducted by DIRCO. To this end, please allow me to take this opportunity to wish all women – mothers and daughters – a Happy Women’s Day.