The 61st Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, which is currently underway in New York, is discussing “Women Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work”.
Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu, who is leading the South African delegation, delivered the Country Statement at the opening of the session on Wednesday.
The delegation is made up of Ministers, Members of Parliament, government officials, together with private sector and civil society organisations.
In her address, Minister Shabangu focused on the centrality of women in shaping South Africa’s progress in the international community through their contribution in the world of work.
She acknowledged the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to narrow gender gaps as jobs become automated.
This process would not only be disruptive, but also threaten to reverse some of the gains women have made in various career paths. It would have on sustainable livelihoods and households as automation take away job.
In her address, Minister Shabangu reiterated that all the challenges brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution are taking place at a time when scientific studies continue to show correlations between full participation of women in the economy, growing family incomes and economic growth.
South Africa’s country statement emphasized that together with other developing countries, SA will not relent in efforts to ensure that women retain access to justice, economic opportunities, employment, equal pay for work of equal value and paid maternity leave.
The statement further underscores the primacy of women’s access to education, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields, which will ensure women’s full participation in the changing world of work.
Further engagements will include South Africa’s report on progress made in the removal of structural barriers in the advancement of women and gender parity in the workplace, while making interventions on closing the wage gap between men and women to ensure that equal pay for work of equal value for both men and women is achieved.
The country will also be making inputs on prevention and response to violence against women, and also learn from other countries that have made progress in preventing violence against women and children
South Africa reaffirmed its full commitment to the advancement of women empowerment and gender equality in the workplace.