The crucial Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill, has been passed by the National Assembly. This Bill criminalises discrimination against women, ensures gender equality and empowers women in South Africa.
The following statement was released by the ANC Chief Whip:
The Bill represents a significant turning point in the endeavour to liberate women from all forms of discrimination and oppression. It is firmly in line with the provisions of our constitution and will enforce 50% gender representation, thereby empowering women by ensuring that they participate meaningfully in our economy.
Public bodies and designated private entities will therefore be required to develop and implement measures to protect and promote women. Unlike the existing legislation on women empowerment and gender equality which has suffered challenges such as lack of enforcement and implementation, this Bill provides for a fine of about 10% of companies’ annual turnover and/or imprisonment for non-compliance.
The Bill also requires the relevant minister to annually publish a report to recognise those who comply with the Act and name and shame those who do not. The Bill will ensure that institutions in both private and public sectors do not just pay lip service to women empowerment and gender equality but put in place appropriate measures to ensure the advancement of women.
This legislation has huge implications in the workplace.
We will keep you posted on any developments in this area.