Friday, 14 December 2018

Pretoria: The Department in the Presidency responsible for Women has urged structures within the African National Congress (ANC) to fast track the investigation into sexual harassment allegations against the party’s national spokesperson Pule Mabe.

“The department is saddened that men in positions of authority continue to use their positions to coerce women into engaging in inappropriate activities.

“Recent accusations by the personal assistant of Mabe joins a long list of grievances by women in workplace environments that are meant to be professional and ethical spaces of work,” the Minister for Women, Bathabile Dlamini, said.

Dlamini said it is clear that unequal power relations between men and women in the workplace lead to situations in which men solicit sexual favours in exchange for career advancement.

“Businesses and organisations need to review their sexual harassment policies and ensure that perpetrators of sexual abuse, workplace victimisation, and bullying are dealt with. Organisations committed to gender equality need to ensure that all allegations of sexual misconduct are investigated thoroughly while guarding against victim blaming and secondary victimisation.” Dlamini said.

She reiterated the call for women to speak out on all forms of gender based violence.

BRICS Women’s Forum

Meanwhile, the department convened the first Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) Senior Officials and Experts Meeting, where a concept note on the establishment of a BRICS Women’s Forum, which would be taken to all governments for further consideration, was finalised.

The two-day meeting, held in Pretoria from 11-12 December 2018, sought to develop a common approach to the development of the proposed BRICS Women’s Forum.

The gathering follows the 10th BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg from 25-27 July 2018, which looked to collaboration for inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution, and emphasized the role of women in promoting inclusive development.

The meeting noted that despite progress in advancing the status of women, gender inequality persisted in BRICS countries and across the globe.

The BRICS Women’s Forum could provide an important platform to exchange best practices and forge partnerships across BRICS countries to promote women’s advancement.

Among its key objectives would be the promotion of women’s full participation in political, social and economic life and promote women’s issues within the broader BRICS agenda.

“The BRICS Women’s Forum aims to identify common challenges facing women and share best practice in responding to gender inequalities at a socio-economic level, as well as to improve women’s participation in decision-making and leadership.

“The forum will further help ensure that BRICS countries accelerate the implementation of international obligations and commitments on the advancement of women, as set out in the various international instruments on women’s empowerment such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, 1979), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” the department’s Acting Director-General, Annette Griessel, explained.

Brazil, which will be assuming the chairmanship of BRICS in 2019, was tasked with convening the next meeting. – SAnews.gov.za

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