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Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane launches 365 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence

JOHANNESBURG – Gender inequality, sexism, and male privilege lay the foundation for all forms of violence against women and girls, said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women.

The Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, officially launched the 365 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) on 10 December.

This in partnership with UN Women and 1st for Women Insurance, according to a released statement by Shalen Gajadhar on behalf of the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities. 

Nkoana-Mashabane said GBVF needed constant illumination and focus. She called on all South Africans to play their part in fighting this scourge and to unite in the fight against GBVF.

“Enough is enough. GBVF is a societal problem that has been declared a national crisis by President Cyril Ramaphosa. It continues, unabated, despite various efforts. Together, we need to play our part, not just for 16 days but for 365 days a year, every year,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

The department said in addition to launching a national strategic plan on GBVF, the government will be fostering partnerships with key stakeholders in civil society, faith-based organisations and the private sector such as 1st for Women Insurance, to mobilise active and patriotic citizenry.

At the event, 1st for Women Insurance was recognised for its focus on GBVF and its new preventative and response programme in Diepsloot that takes into account and addresses the root cause of the epidemic.

“Women abuse in South Africa is a burgeoning and complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach to address the underlying attitudes, beliefs, practices and systems that condone, justify or excuse gender inequality. Through our research, we found that male superiority and a culture of violence which manifests itself in the form of patriarchy, control, sexual entitlement and unhealthy conflict resolution skills are determining factors towards women abuse. ”

The programme also includes a comprehensive community-based support programme for survivors of abuse (from trauma to prosecution). Self-defence training and a digital tool will be integrated into the programme at a later stage,” said Robyn Farrell, CEO of 1st for Women Insurance.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women said, “Gender inequality, sexism and male privilege lay the foundation for all forms of violence against women and girls. Addressing these negative norms and stereotypes, including working with men and boys to promote positive masculinity, must be at the core of prevention strategies. Working together with the private sector on partnerships like this one will enable us to tackle this issue not only today but every day of the year.”

Nkoana-Mashabane called on men and boys to take a stand against all forms of abuse and GBVF. She also encouraged South Africans to sign the National Pledge on GBVF and join www.for-women.co.za – a hub for survivors and victims of GBVF who need help and corporates who can offer help.

“The National Pledge calls on South African men to become actively involved in ending all forms of violence. It is not only about being a good man, father, husband and co-worker. It goes beyond that, to men not allowing violence in all its forms to take place. Men can do this by calling out other men who insult, denigrate, abuse, or treat women like objects. Men need to be active players in activist efforts to end GBVF,” said  Nkoana-Mashabane.

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