Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill [B50-2013]

Call for comments opened 06 December 2013 Share this page:

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities invites you to submit written comments on the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill [B50-2013].

The Bill seeks to :
▪ give effect to section 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 in so far as the empowerment of women and gender equality is concerned;
▪ establish a legislative framework for the empowerment of women;
▪ align all aspects of laws and implementation of laws relating to women empowerment and the appointment and representation of women in decision-making positions and structures;

Public hearings will be held in Parliament on Wednesday, 29 & Thursday, 30 January 2014

Comments can be emailed to Ms Neliswa Nobatana at nnobatana@parliament.gov.za by no later than Friday, 20 December 2013.

Enquiries can be directed to Ms Neliswa Nobatana on tel (021) 403 3840 or cell: 083 709 8472

Issued by: Ms D.M. Ramodibe, MP, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities.

"Under section 1 of the Constitution, the founding values of the democratic state of the Republic of South Africa are human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms, non-racialism and non-sexism. Section 2 of the Constitution provides that obligations imposed by the Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic must be fulfilled. Section 9 of the Constitution creates the basis for the obligation of the public sector, the private sector and civil society to eliminate and remedy gender and race inequalities. Section 9(2) of the Constitution guarantees the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms by people of all genders. Section 9(2) of the Constitution furthermore provides that legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons or categories of persons disadvantaged by unfair discrimination, may be taken to promote the achievement of equality. Section 9(3) and (4) of the Constitution prohibit unfair discrimination by the state or another person against anyone on the ground of gender, race and other factors. Based on section 9(3) and (4) of the Constitution, legislation such as the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 (Act No. 4 of 2000), the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 (Act No. 75 of 1997), the Employment Equity Act, 1998 (Act No. 55 of 1998), and the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, 2000 (Act No. 4 of 2000), seek to prevent and prohibit unfair discrimination on the basis of, inter alia, race, class, gender and people with disabilities and to promote equality. Based on section 9(2) of the Constitution, legislation such as the Employment Equity Act, 1998 (Act No. 55 of 1998), and the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, 2003 (Act No. 53 of 2003), seek to provide for the implementation of affirmative action programmes aimed at advancing blacks, women and people with disabilities. In 2000, Cabinet adopted the South African National Policy Framework for Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality, 2000 (Policy Framework), which provided for the establishment of the National Gender Machinery (NGM). The NGM is a network of coordinated structures within and outside government which operate cooperatively in facilitating political, social, economic and other forms of transformation to dismantle systemic gender inequality and promote equality between women and men. Since the adoption of the NGM model, there have been a number of developments in the operations of government and societal behaviour. This has led to calls for a re-look at the model with emphasis on the highest executive coordination point hence the call for a dedicated women's ministry. In view of continued inequalities and poverty faced by women and governance challenges in mainstreaming gender as well as the need to update the Policy Framework, the Ministry initiated a review of the Policy Framework with the intention to develop a National Gender Policy. At consultations in the revision phase, women called for a binding legal framework that will ensure that all the entities to whom legislation on gender equality applies, comply with its requirements. His Excellency, Mr GJ Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, announced the Ministry of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (the ''DWCPD''), on 10 May 2009, with subsequent proclamation on 7 July 2009 (Government Gazette No. 32387, Proclamation No. 48 of 2009). At the National Women's Day celebrations on 9 August 2009, the President magnified the DWCPD's role, stating that the Ministry will ''monitor other government departments to ensure the mainstreaming of gender, children's rights and disability considerations into all programmes of government and other sectors''. The President reiterated in his State of the Nation Address in February 2010, the need to integrate gender equity measures into government's programmes of action to ensure that women, children and people with disabilities can access developmental opportunities."