Women must take their proper place in the historical process of the African Renaissance-Tourism Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe
The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Ms Elizabeth Thabethe on Tuesday urged governments, parliaments, business, labour and civil society organisations to ensure that women take their proper place in the historical process of the African Renaissance.
“The vision of the African Renaissance enjoins us to put the emancipation of women at the centre of every principle, strategy, policy and programme we adopt at national, regional and continental levels,” Thabethe highlighted in her speech delivered at the 10th Women in Politics Conference held at the Golf Reef City in Johannesburg.
Thabethe said that gender inequalities make women vulnerable to income poverty and denial of opportunities and the essentials that provide a better life.
If these issues are not addressed, together they perpetuate poverty from one generation to the next, she emphasised.
She decried that gender equality has remained on the side-lines for many years.
“Together with neo-colonialism, cold-war rivalries, civil wars and mismanagement of economies, the marginalisation of women contributed to the further underdevelopment of Africa,” emphasised Thabethe.
The Deputy Minister told delegates that were in attendance at the opening of the two-day conference that, just as the liberation from apartheid and colonialism would be incomplete without the total liberation of women, the African continent will also never achieve its renewal if women still experience different forms of oppression.
She highlighted that strategies to eradicate poverty must also address factors such as respect, dignity and freedom as well as participation in all levels of decision-making.
Concurring with South Africa’s former Deputy President now Phumzile Mlambo-Ngquka, Thabethe reiterated her assertion that, there is no great force for change, for peace, for justice and democracy, for inclusive economic growth than a world of empowered women.
Thabethe stressed that Mlambo-Ngquka now United Nations Under-Secretary-General as well as Executive Director of United Nations (UN) Women would have made the woman of fortitude and the champion of women’s struggles for equality, Mama Albertina Sisulu proud in knowing that her struggle for women’s rights and economic emancipation is being championed by a remarkable and dynamic person at the UN.
She commended Rwanda for increasing women representation in its legislature to 62% which is the highest in the world as well South Africa, Senegal and Namibia for being Sub-Saharan countries that have achieved more than 40 percent women representation in their various parliaments.
Thabethe slammed views attributed to Nigerian Parliamentarian Gudaji Kazaure on gender equality describing them as weird and backward.
She maintained that people like Kazaure are threatened by sudden emergence of women in politics.
The controversial Kazaure reportedly said; "It is good to give women opportunities in politics [and] entrepreneurship, because of the good role they play in our lives. My fear is [that] the women control the men at home. If you give them too much opportunity outside the house, they will capture everything. If you give them too much chance, one day, they will overthrow us. One day you will come here and find women everywhere in this chamber, and they will mess up."
The African Renaissance women who are development orientated have to reclaim their voices as well as vociferously speak out against patriarchy and the cancer of corruption which rob them of limited resources, said Thabethe.
“We have to be deliberate as well as radical if we are to make headway to achieve gender equality and not negotiate it. Women have to reject patriarchy as well as cultural backwardness,” she underscored.
She called on women professionals to reach out and mentor others who might not have had the same opportunities that they had.
Thabethe added that women should lift each other up not pull each other down.
“Those who have made it to the top should also not pull up the ladder to ensure that no other woman climbs it. Women have to reject patriarchy as well as its associated cultural backwardness,” she emphasised.
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