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Fedusa calls for gender equity policy change in SA rather than celebration on Women's Day

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Fedusa calls for gender equity policy change in SA rather than celebration on Women's Day

Photo by Reuters

8th March 2021

By: News24Wire

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While women's achievements will be celebrated on International Women's Day on Monday, the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) says South Africa is lagging behind.

This year, International Women's Day will be marked by the United Nations under the theme "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world".

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In a statement on Sunday, Fedusa said there should be calls for a radical change in gender equity policy direction rather than celebration on International Women's Day.

"This is because of SA's sharply skewed leadership profile when viewed through the lenses of employment equity, the government's modest policy enthusiasm in tackling gender inequality and gender-based violence, and the Covid-19 pandemic," Fedusa vice-president Dorothy Nokuzola Ndhlovu said.

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To illustrate their point, Fedusa quoted the Department of Employment and Labour's latest Employment Equity Report which showed that the percentage of men in top management positions is nearly three times that of women, at 75.6% and 24.4%, respectively.

The ratio of men in senior management positions is nearly double that of women, at 64.7% and 35.3% respectively.

"The slow pace of closing the gap between professionally qualified women and their male counterparts in nearly two decades from 2001 to 2019 by a marginal upward movement to 46.9% from 38%, also calls for a fundamental policy rethink as shown by the same report."

Fedusa also quoted the National Income Dynamics Study - Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) on the socioeconomic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, which also painted an equally skewed picture, showing women made up two-thirds of more than two-million jobs lost over the lockdown months.

"Gender vulnerability is still staked against women in the context of Covid-19 risk factors such as living in a crowded dwelling; dependence on public healthcare facilities; reliance on public transport; existing health conditions; and access to medical aid that have been identified by the Gauteng City-Region Observatory's Quality of Life Survey," Ndhlovu said.

"The same survey shows that more women - 49% compared to 43% of men - rely on public modes of transport such as minibus taxis.

"Worldwide, the World Health Organisation has shown that up to 70% of frontline workers in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic are women."

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