REPORT OF THE NATIONAL WOMEN’SCONFERENCE: AUGUST 201131 JULY-03 AUGUST 2011BIRCHWOOD HOTEL, BOKSBURG“Sexism, just like racism, is an acquired attitude of the mind, which can be overcome”HE Mr Kgalema Motlanthe, Deputy President, RSASpeaking at the National Women’s Conference, 3 August 2011
Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities36 Hamilton StreetArcadiaPretoriaPrivate Bag X 931, Pretoria 0001Tel: +27 (012) 359 0470 Fax: +27 (012) 359 0013
FOREWORDTRANSLATING THE MOMENTUM OF THE FIRST NATIONAL WOMEN’S CONFERENCE INTOACTIONI am proudto present this report of the firstNational Women’s Conference: August 2011hosted by the Department for Women, Childrenand People with Disabilities (DWCPD). This National Conference on gender andwomen’s empowerment, which happened at thestart of the national women’s month activities,was a significant expression of the voice of thewomen of this country. It was a collectiveconsensus of women from all over the country –women in the national, provincial and localexecutive levels, women in government, womenfrom rural areas, women with disabilities, womenliving with HIV, women in business both formaland informal, women in trade unions, elderlywomen, young women, women-based NGOs,and women in civil society organizations. TheConference was also well attended byprogressive men’s organizations that play a rolein advancing women’s empowerment and genderequality.The Conference was meant to re-examineprogress made by Government towards itscommitment to a non-sexist society and itstransformation agenda, identify shortcomings andpropose recommendations that would ensurethat women’s issues and gender equality aremainstreamed across and within governancepriorities – in particular the 5 national prioritiesand the 12 outcomes of Government adoptedand endorsed by the nation during the 2009elections.The commitment to a non-sexist society hasalways been part of the democratic government’spolicy. According to the Constitution (1996),women are recognized as equal citizens, withequal rights and responsibilities. The women ofthis country have always been at the forefront ofthe struggle for their political franchise,emancipation and empowerment for a very longtime, putting forward a vision for a non-sexistsociety. It is the democratic Government since1994 that has given effect to this ardent calling ofwomen by institutionalizing gender equality andwomen’s empowerment through its policies,institutional arrangements and interventionmeasures.The creation of a dedicated Ministry for Women,Children and People with Disabilities in May2009, and its concomitant Department, is anarticulation of this commitment to the women ofthe country. This very important pronouncementmust continue to have a significant impact on thelives of women and girls with special emphasison their development, advancement andempowerment and the achievement of genderequality.