For Immediate Release: 16 March 2017
To: Editors, Producers and Reporters
CGE Calls for Serious Intervention on Women in the Workforce
The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has noted with interest that the 61st Session of the United Nations on the Commission of the Status of Women (UNCSW) amongst the themes will discuss “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work”.
The Commission on Gender Equality has observed over the past 5-year period with concern during session on Gender Transformation in the Private sector and the Public sector, that despite existing measures within these organizations and institution’s, that Senior management need to review and Action to eradicate sexual division of labour- we observe that women, African and black continue to occupy the lower occupations and jobs. Women occupy the unskilled, semi-skilled employment. Skilled predominantly males. We note even where women can ascend to higher levels and ranks the percentage of women promoted to next levels gets significantly lower. Reasons remain frivolous and unscientific on why women are undervalued and not progressively supported, trained and capacitated to lead in supervisory, technical departments and higher management positions.
The Commission of Employment Equity (CEE) report 2015 has highlighted disparities in the salaries of men and women especially in executive levels. The Commission is of the view that this needs be addressed urgently. The Commission has observed that there are lots of organisations that discriminate against women in terms of salary remunerations.
The CGE maintains that for progressive protected employment and realization of women inclusion and participation of women in the labour force, reduce gender-pay gap, defend women’s right through sexual harassment policy, protected employment especially in mining, construction and clothing and textile industries. It is also critical that both private and public sector consider addressing issues of part-time irregular contracts and unlawful working hours and work schedules, and time-flex hours for working women. The Business Women Association of South Africa (BWASA) research has shown that women who are working in a conducive environment are more productive and the returns in margins are always high.
The CGE implores the retail industry to be considerate particularly during the festive seasons and weekends and late and early hours provide transportation for their employees whom majority are women. Women workers not only live far from the transport points and their work place they are vulnerable to rape and assault whilst going to work.
The CGE has also noted that the maternity benefit for working women is not being applied in line with the Department of Labour’s Basic Condition of Employment particularly in the private sector. Women workers must not experience marginalization and penalized in terms of promotion and empowerment. Maternity benefits must be enforced and implementation monitored by both the Trade Unions and the Employers in the workplace.
“The Commission calls for All role players, the Employers, the bargaining chamber and councils and the Trade Unions to prioritise women workers struggles demands in the workplaces – on gender pay gap, addressing sexual division of labour, maternity benefits for working women, sexual harassment and the employment contracts.” Said Lulama Nare, Acting Chairperson of the Commission for Gender Equality.
The CGE encourages the public to utilize its toll-free number (0800 007 709) to report matters that relate to violations of gender rights
Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE)
Date: 16 March 2017
Contact Person: Javu Baloyi
Tel: 083 579 3306
The Commission for Gender Equality is established in terms of Section 187 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.