Our new party will take action to #PutSouthAfricanWomenFirst

South Africa remains a highly patriarchal society where women are often treated as second-class citizens. Our new party will strive to empower South African women and ensure that we can overcome challenges such as gender inequality in the workplace, the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide, and the disproportionate level of employment faced by women.

Today’s engagement served as a platform for South African women to share their ideas of how this can be achieved. Some of these ideas included:

  • Teaching children from a young age to challenge traditional gender roles and respect one another. Challenging gender inequality must begin at a young age to ensure that we raise a society based on mutual appreciation and respect.
  • The introduction of self-defence classes to empower young girls to defend themselves against sexual abuse and GBV.
  • Similarly, young boys must be educated about their role and responsibility in tackling GBV. Our boys must be taught to become young men that respect women.
  • A greater focus on the importance of education for young women to ensure that they have equal access to opportunities for self-improvement and development.
  • Overhauling the SAPS training program with an improved curriculum related to the handling of GBV. This must be coupled with additional sensitivity training for other emergency- and healthcare workers, and improved trauma- and GBV counselling at police stations and hospitals.
  • Adopt “Early Intervention” mechanisms and provide additional funding for Safe Houses for women who are the victims of GBV. This is central to preventing femicide, particularly in rural areas that lack the facilities and resources to adequately deal with these challenges.
  • More stringent requirements for the granting of bail to alleged perpetrators of GBV.
  • The introduction of mentorship programs where successful women can empower young girls and assist them in unlocking their potential.
  • Working towards improved representation of women in leadership positions through incentivising training and professional development of women through tax incentives.

The discussion today is the latest in a series of such engagements we are undertaking as we develop the solutions blueprints for our new political party to be launched on the 29th of August. We believe that the solutions to our country’s greatest challenges will not come from career politicians and a broken political system, but from ordinary South Africans who are experts in their fields.

We have already engaged experts on the criminal justice system, anti-corruption, law enforcement, the economy, and education and skills development. As with today’s discussion, I have been overwhelmed by the willingness of South Africans to contribute to the project of fixing their country and building a shared future for all its people.

It is only through a collective effort that we will be able to build a prosperous, non-racial and secure South Africa for all its people.