At the Business Women’s Association of South Africa (BWASA) presidential dialogue held on Tuesday in the Johannesburg CBD, President Cyril Ramaphosa said government policy would be purposefully discriminatory – but in favour of females in business.
“We will discriminate in favour of women. Isn’t that nice?” he said.
The president said this would take the form of government committing to “support more women to come into business incubation”.
The budgeting process will also change to accommodate and encourage women.
“We have taken a decision that the budgeting process in our government is going to be gender-sensitive. We are going to ensure that when we do budgets, they focus on the gender aspect of how we empower women,” the president said.
“I am irrevocably committed to the empowerment of women.”
The president said he hoped more women would benefit from business incubation and that government would endeavour to support this.
Ramaphosa also stressed the need for more businesses in manufacturing led by women and said more SA women must participate in international forums and trade.
“Women must come forward and say: ‘We’ve arrived whether you like it or not.’
“Women businesses need to come forward, the struggle was never fought and won by sitting in a corner,” Ramaphosa said.
The president also encouraged women to speak out on non-business related issues such as gender-based violence.
“Never keep quiet. Speak out about everything, be it gender-based violence or lack of transformation. Continue agitating for the attainment of a non-racist and non-sexist South Africa. Mobilise for the cause of women,” he said.
The president also committed that more resources and financial assistance would be allocated towards non-profit organisations that assisted against gender-based violence.
“We must ensure that women do not live in a country that has declared war on them,” he said.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman based on tweets by Eric Naki.)