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The Eastern Cape Department of Social Development prioritizes women’s empowerment through hosting a virtual Social Empowerment workshop focusing on Women’s Rights

UNFPA, as a strategic partner, was on 27 August 2020 invited to be part of the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development Women’s Month virtual engagement. Celebrated under the theme: Generation Equality – Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future, the programme targeted 100 rural women (including women with disabilities) from all the six (6) districts in the Eastern Cape. These rural women were led by the Imbumba Yamakhosikazi Akomkhulu (IYA), a traditional women’s formation that is focused on the development of rural women.

Programme Director, Nkosikazi Nobhongo Ngonyama, a member of the National House of Traditional Leaders, shared that the workshop was aimed at raising awareness and understanding on the Constitutional Rights of Women, Gender Equality Policies and Legal Rights of Women, including Women’s Reproductive Health and Rights.

Mr N Mrwebo from the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) gave an overview of the Harmful Traditional Practices that impact on the Girl Child negatively, such as early or forced marriage.

The day’s proceedings culminated in a key note address by the MEC for Social Development, Honourable Mrs Siphokazi Lusithi. Ms. Viwe Dunjwa from UNFPA had earlier spoken about the Generation Equality Campaign as part of the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform of Action (BPA). She emphasized that it demands equal pay, equal sharing of unpaid domestic work, an end to sexual harassment and all forms of violence against women and girls, health care services that respond to women’s needs and their equal participation in political life and decision making in all areas of life. UNFPA also hailed the Government of South Africa for developing progressive laws which are gender sensitive, with specific reference to the newly approved and adopted National Strategic Plan on Gender Based Violence and Femicide- which provides guidelines in support of this agenda.