9 August 2021
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) fully supports the concept of generation equality which lies behind the government’s ‘Generation Equality: Women’s Right for An Equal Future’ theme for this year’s Women’s Day. The theme aligns South Africa to global efforts aimed at achieving gender equality by 2030.
According to United Nations Women, the Generation Equality campaign turns on unapologetic demands for equal pay, equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work, an end to sexual harassment and all forms of violence against women and girls, health-care services that respond to their needs and their equal participation in political life and decision-making in all areas of life.
FEDUSA is concerned that government statistics continue to attest to widespread practices of unequal pay for work of equal value between women and men in our country. Added to deliberate limitations placed on the upward mobility of women by male networks at work, this situation is a direct violation of the provisions of the Employment Equity Act. It should be allowed to continue unchallenged.
FEDUSA would also like to urge South African society to embrace the progressive idea of equally sharing unpaid care and domestic to show that it is willing to address the gendered nature of household chores. This will ensure that men are not deliberately complicit in what social scientist have called social reproduction, which refers to the callous perpetuation of social inequalities, especially those between women and men.
Gender based violence in the form of sexual assaults and physical violence against women and children in the world of work is a tragic pandemic that even preceded COVID-19, though it has been clearly aggravated by it. Government can show that it cares by speeding up the ratification of International Labour Organization Convention 190 that has been specifically designed to an put an end to sexual harassment and violence against women in the world of work.
Women as health workers or in the home caring for their families have at the forefront of the national response to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. Many have lost their lives in the process. But there are also those in our society who had the frightening morality of stealing Personal Protective Equipment meant to save lives from the pandemic. Justice demands that there be visible prosecution of those implicated. Failure to do so would be to dishonour the brave women who have put their lives on the line for all of us.
For interviews please contact:
Ms Dorothy Nokuzola Ndhlovu
FEDUSA Vice President: Gender and Social Justice
076 424 8747
Ms. Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2625