The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) says it’s concerned about the progress of transformation in the workplace.
Gender equality is enshrined in the Bill of Rights of our country’s Constitution and forms an integral part of our lives in a democracy.
More than 20 years after policies and legislation in place to ensure gender parity, women remain marginalised across sectors.
In corporate South Africa for example, men still occupy positions of influence while women play a supporting role.
“We see more women occupying either the middle or lower strata of the management in those government departments as well as private sector and SOEs (state-owned entities),” says the Chairperson for Gender Equality Tamara Mathebula.
The Gender Equality Commission has found that Private companies and even mining conglomerates are resistant to change.
Mathebula adds that women with disabilities and the LGBTIQ community are the most marginalised.
“And it’s even worse when it comes to promotion – gays and lesbians are not even considered for promotion….because of who you are we (companies) are not sure whether you will be able to become a CEO of this company or you’ll be able to represent us the way you should.”
Equal pay is another contested issue.
According to the International Labour Organization’s Global Wage 2018/2019 Report – women earn about 20% less than their male counterparts.
“Companies are categorising women as people who get distracted by something. You will find one of the reasons you will find that women will take more time off to take care of their newborn – maternity is not equal to paternity. When payment is structured, they look at those issues that you are still young and still fertile and will therefore take more time out more than the male.”
Patriarchy, lack of information and concrete plans to mainstream gender equality are said to be factors that contribute to this social injustice.
The Gender Commission Chairperson believes this issue needs an all hands on deck approach.
Mathebula says while more still needs to be done to even the gender playing-field, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have been steadfast in their attempt to change things.
Government departments and political parties are also said to have improved efforts to ensure gender parity.
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