8 March 2022
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called for gender pay transparency by all employers as the world marks yet another International Women’s Day. The move will go a long way in healing the gaping gender pay disparity wound and is in line with the ratification of Convention 111 on equal pay by the government. In South Africa, women earn up to 35 per cent less than men for doing work of equal value yet nearly 38 per cent of households are dependent on the income that a woman brings home.
Even highly educated and qualified middle-class women- especially those working in the private sector are still finding it difficult to escape gender pay disparity as the old boys network still favour their male counterparts.
On their meagre income, working-class women and those from poor communities still have to feed, clothe and pay school fees for children and sacrifice their own physiological needs in the majority of cases, to meet the needs of their own families and those of extended families. Despite a raft of government legislation, women have to contend with domestic violence at the hands of their intimate partners on a repeated basis in their own homes.
FEDUSA find it sad that as the world celebrates yet another International Women’s Day milestone, there are still people who dare ask whether a woman should get paid the same wages as a man for the same kind of work.
The union federation believes that there can never be different answers to this question. If the woman and the man perform work of equal value under the same employer, then natural justice requires that they be paid equal wages. To deny her this is to deny her, her humanity.
FEDUSA also fully supports the United Nations’ International Women’s Theme for this year which is “ Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow” which is aligned with the priority theme of the upcoming 66th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
The union federation’s Social Justice & Gender Committee believes that 2022 is pivotal for achieving gender equality in the context of Climate Change and Environmental and disaster risk reduction which are some of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century.
Effects of climate change such as drought and poor harvest of food crops have an extremely negative impact on women and girls. This is because the primary responsibility of providing food, drinking water and gathering wood to cook meals for households in environments ravaged by climate change rests on the shoulders of women and girls. Without Gender equality today, a sustainable future and an equal future remains beyond our reach.
The theme is relevant especially after South Africa has ratified International Labour Organization Convention No. 190 (C190) and Recommendation No. 206 ( R206), tools that address risks factors and prevent Gender-Based Violence and further encourages the development of workplace policies that will empower and protect workers by removing barriers to the implementation of existing laws. However, FEDUSA must remain vigilant to ensure the implementation of C190 and R206 must conduct awareness-raising campaigns and implementation of C190 taking into cognisance the vulnerable groups that are raised by the convention. FEDUSA would also like to wish all women, a very Happy International Women’s Day.
For interviews please contact:
Ms Nomabandla Silinyana
FEDUSA Vice President: Social Justice and Gender
082 675 2667
Ms Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2625
Mr Ashley Benjamin
FEDUSA Deputy General Secretary
083 258 4433