South Africa: Finding gender in the new Economic Growth Path

Date: October 4, 2011
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The World Bank together with South African government and women business leaders convened a meeting in Sandton on 24 August 2011 aimed at coordinating a gender response to South Africa’s new economic growth path.

The National Growth plan outlines five job drivers: public investment in infrastructure such as construction, operations and maintenance, targeting labour absorbing activities such as agriculture and mining value chains, manufacturing and services, taking advantage of new opportunities in the green economy, leveraging social capital in the social economy and public services and rural development and tourism.

Representatives from the Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Business Unity South Africa, Business Women’s Association (BWA), Progressive Women’s movement, South African Women in Dialogue and the United Nations attended the meeting.

Director General in the department for Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Nonhlanhla Mkhize emphasised the need for the New Economic Growth Path to generate opportunities for all women with special emphasis on young women, women with disabilities, rural women and women in the informal sector.

“Our task today is to interrogate these job drivers and engender them, the Department therefore sees the meeting as extremely important given that one of the undertakings of the Department for this year is to facilitate and coordinate the development of a gender barometer for the New Growth Path and the Job Fund,” said Mkhize.

She went on to say, “Indeed, as the Department we are adamant that 50% targets are imperative.However,we also recognise that further work is required in the short, medium and long term to arrive at that target. The process therefore, requires us to ask “what are the practical challenges to achieving 50% gender parity and 50% economic opportunities for women .The second question is what the solutions to such challenges are.”

All the views of the representatives from the various sectors that attended the meeting will be incorporated in formulating the new Economic Growth Path. It is hoped that this will contribute to changing the lives of women and man in South Africa.


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