The Gauteng Provincial Government has kick-started the three-day Women’s Economic Summit as part of the International Women’s Day commemorations, at the Nasrec Expo Centre, Johannesburg.
The summit aimed at exposing women to various opportunities such as networking, skills programmes, and finding solutions to speed up women empowerment.
Premier David Makhura said that the provincial government will empower women and improve their well-being. He put emphasis on creating initiatives that will not only empower women but will also bring entrepreneurial opportunities for women to be financially independent.
“We have a bursary programme administered by the Gauteng City Region Academy, which just awarded 4 000 bursaries to the best performing township schools, and 2 177 of the beneficiaries are young women,” he said.
Makhura also said that in his own capacity he runs a trust which educates twenty students, of which thirteen of them are young women. “We also run Welfare2Work Programme where we empower young women not to rely on social grants but to run their own businesses,” he added.
Amongst the penalties, was the country Director for United Nations Women, Anne Shongwe, who said some of the main challenges still facing women are salary differences and sexual harassment. “Salary differences are still very much a reality as is the perception that women are less capable than men in certain professions,” Shongwe said.
She also said that throughout the world, South Africa is one of the countries that are in the fore-front of women empowerment and gender equality.Other people who attended the summit include Minister in the Presidency, Susan Shabangu, MEC for Social Development, Nandi-Mayathula-Khoza, MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi and MEC for Economic Development, Lebogang Maile and MEC for Sports, Culture and Recreation, Faith Mazibuko.
Furthermore, Premier Makhura noted that the provincial government is doing a lot to empower women, and made reference to the provincial cabinet, which consists of 50% women, Heads of department for 14 departments, seven of them are women and his advisory panel consists of nine women out of 16 members.
He also announced that in August, during women’s month, the provincial government will host the Premier’s Women’s Excellence Awards.“I would like to announce that during women’s month in August we will give recognition awards to women to acknowledge their excellence in business and civil society,” Premier Makhura said.