A disappointed minister of small business and senior African National Congress (ANC) member Lindiwe Zulu said women must go back to the trenches to ensure greater representation in the ANC's leadership structures.
On Monday evening, Jessie Duarte was announced as the only woman among the ANC's top leadership, retaining the position of deputy secretary general.
Speaking to the media at the Nasrec Expo Centre on Tuesday morning, Zulu said the election results were a sign of regression as the previous top six had two women - Duarte and Baleka Mbete as national chairperson.
"At the end of the day we go back to the trenches as women to see where it is we didn't go right to ensure that we got more women," Zulu said.
"The main reason why we keep pushing for women is that we believe as women we have the capacity and capability to be in a leadership position of the African National Congress.
"But at this conference obviously the branches have spoken we have to respect that. We'll go back and see what else we can do. How do we move forward in ensuring that in the future we have women?"
She said an eye should be kept on the election of the party's national executive committee members because: "We want to see more women in the leadership structures."
"By the way, I also don't want us to make as if women are always on their own. There are men who are also very concerned about women not being in key decision-making structures.
"Those men who are in agreement with us, it means as women we need to talk to them, because in the end, we need to understand that having women in key decision-making structures in the African National Congress will also reflect itself in society in general."
Earlier on Tuesday morning North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo was interviewed on News24's Politiki.
He said the national democratic revolution requires that the ANC builds a non-sexist society.
"This is a great regression of unprecedented proportions in the African National Congress. I think we must go and sit down and say how do we address this particular matter going forward," he said.
He said, however, that the election of the top six was the outcome of a democratic process.
"But you can't have a democratic process that is an antithesis to what we are struggling for.
'Branches have spoken'
"It means we are finding it difficult to [root out] patriarchy in the African National Congress. It is a sad day that we only have one woman."
He said by this he didn't mean only Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who the premier backed ahead of the elections for party president.
"Even if it was Lindiwe Sisulu, it would have been okay."
While Zulu was speaking to the media, the steering committee was meeting to discuss the matter of the 68 quarantined ballots.
She said the top six had to be united and that the ANC had no chance of success if its members don't rally behind the elected leadership.
"This is what we said yesterday, almost everybody that was interviewed yesterday has said the branches have spoken. We need to respect the results as they were. If anyone has any issues we need to take it to the steering committee," she said.