Press release from Ms LL van der Merwe MP in response to budget announced for women's issues in South Africa. Ms van der Merwe raises two main issues of 1) combating sexual violence against women and 2) making tampons available as necessary items by abolishing the tax on them and providing free tampons for poor young women.
The point is made that the presence of women in parliament is not enough. What also matters is the implementation of policy and providing oversight.
Let me also state, that we cannot simply claim that we have succeed in empowering women, just because we have more women in Parliament and Cabinet. This does not reflect our reality. In reality, women are not safe in their own homes, and in their own communities. In reality, women still bear the brunt of poverty and many in rural areas remain excluded from the economy.
Minister, this must change. Despite your mini budget, you and your Department must use every cent to effect change. And you must become a strong voice for our women.
We want to hear you give guidance on the 'blesser' phenomenon, sugar daddies and teenage pregnancies. We want to hear you give guidance when President Zuma claims that women are too sensitive, when they mistake compliments for sexual harassment. We want you to take a more aggressive approach in holding to account Departments and Entities that fail our women.
But for this to happen, this Department must become more than an employment agency. We need a 'back to basics' approach. We need to spend less time on talkshops, workshops and conferences. We need to focus on ensuring that this Department's monitoring and evaluation tool is finalized as matter of urgency. And we must ensure that gender focal points at the various levels of government are operational.