Women work ‘under vulnerable conditions and in low-paying jobs’, says Nkoana-Mashabane

22 August 2020 by Brian Sokutu

Turning to the impact of Covid-19 on women, she said: As our country continues its response to Covid-19, the short- and longterm effects of this pandemic mostly affect the economic well-being of women.’

Although strides are being made to empower women through progressive policies and laws in democratic South Africa, females still lag behind males at workplace and in economic participation, says Minister for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities in the Presidency Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Addressing a virtual policy dialogue webinar on economic justice and rights during the Covid-19 pandemic yesterday, Nkoana-Mashabane said despite women playing a critical role in breaking the cycle of poverty, they continued to work “under vulnerable conditions and in low-paying jobs”.

“Women do not have access to necessary finance, equal access to resources and opportunities,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

Other glaring forms of disparities, she said, included women not being offered “decent work with fair wages, safe working conditions – critical components of economic justice”.

“We are also aware that when women have sustainable incomes, they invest in their communities and families,” maintained Nkoana-Mashabane. Just like political rights, economic rights are also fundamental human rights. Until the economic rights of women are fully realised, women will not be completely free.”

Government over the years faced challenges “to ensure that women are not only integrated into the formal economy, but also equipped with the education and skills required to participate in a modern economy”.

According to Nkoana-Mashabane, this has been despite government having enacted many laws to promote gender equality and women empowerment, which included the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act; and the Employment Equity Act.

Government was, however, committed to bridge the gender gap.

“More work needs to be done to achieve the economic justice of women in our country through government introducing a range of policies and programmes designed to facilitate women’s economic empowerment,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

Turning to the impact of Covid-19 on women, she said: “As our country continues its response to Covid-19, the short- and longterm effects of this pandemic mostly affect the economic well-being of women. We need to improve our efforts so that women can benefit from Covid-19 relief interventions, including funding,” she said.

“We all know that even before Covid-19 pandemic, there were many barriers to the full realisation of women’s economic justice and rights.”

Source: The Citizen at https://citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/general/2346876/women-work-under-vulnerable-conditions-and-in-low-paying-jobs-says-nkoana-mashabane/