What are the problems faced by women today?

Ehlanzeni District Municipality are not immune to general problems faced by women. However, we see a lot of Ehlanzeni women being among those who are affected by the triple challenges such as inequality, poverty and unemployment. Much as they face the triple challenges, they also face social ills and scourges such as HIV and TB, substance abuse, domestic violence, Gender-Based Violence, child abuse and are living below the poverty line. Women of Ehlanzeni also face the challenge of being single parents which perpetuates different kinds of social ills, disability, sexual harassment in the workplace, sex in exchange for job opportunities, illiteracy and poor participation in the mainstream economy.

How can women overcome the above-mentioned challenges?

• Inequality – requires the strict implementation of government legislations and policies. Establishment of sexual harassment committees in the workplace, drafting of employment equity plans with a specific targets and quotas aimed at empowering designated.
• Poverty requires women to organize themselves into cooperatives doing sewing, farming, baking and the role of government would be to inject capital investment and skills development programmes such financial management and enhancing their skills in their area of competence

In Politics and Academics, how are women thriving?

Since the dawn of our democracy we have experienced defining moments for women, such as exercising the right to vote like our male counter parts in 1994 and by having the gender equality clause in our Constitution in 1996.
We have seen women soldiering on side by side with their male counter parts for quotas in gender representation in positions of influence and power to the moment when the African National Congress decisively declared that, South Africa should ensure gender parity during tipping points, like the appointments of politicians in cabinet, municipal levels and provincial legislatures. The ruling party went on to advocate for the implementation of gender parity policy position by the private sector as well.
In Ehlanzeni women play an important role in campaigning and mobilizing support for their parties, yet they, rarely, occupy decision-making positions. The selection and nomination processes, within political parties, tend to be robust and developed by men. These processes are characterized by public spats, threats of violence and the kind of viciousness which threaten women. An old boy’s club atmosphere, and, prejudices inhibit and prohibit politically aspiring women, from integrating themselves into their party’s work.
Women are often put in a party list, in order that, they not be elected, if their party wins insufficient votes in an election. In certain instances where women are elected to occupy decision-making positions, when their term comes to an end, they are then replaced by men which reverses the action taken to strive towards equality and the 50/50 campaign.
Academically, to date, the higher education sector is still dominated by white men, many of whom occupy management positions. Out of 26 higher education institutions, only four are led by women – Thoko Mayekiso at the University of Mpumalanga, Sibongile Muthwa at Nelson Mandela University, Mamokgethi Phakeng at the University of Cape Town, and Xoliswa Mtose at the University of Zululand.Ehlanzeni District Municipality has 31,5% literacy levels of which majority is women. However, more job opportunities are given to men.

How can the perception of women be changed in society and how would change that?

The perceptions of women are as follows:

• Both men and women think that men
make better political leaders than
women do;
• Both men and women believe that when
jobs are scarce, men should have more
rights to jobs than women;
• Communities still believe that a
woman’s place is in the house and not
the boardroom.

What’s your Women’s Month message?

Women of Ehlanzeni, you be proud of what you have achieved. Let the achievements of those who went before you inspire you to unlock your own strength and motivate you to make a difference in your family, your community or your country.
Let us speak out against GBV, let’s report it, protect ourselves and our children. Let us ensure that we empower ourselves through education, businesses and skills that can help us generate income.
Let us go out there and leave an indelible mark. Go out and celebrate the women that you are. Go out and make a difference this Women’s Month!

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