Commission for Gender Equality Must Begin to Deliver to SA Women
THIS week, Parliament holds public interviews to fill the long-vacant seats of commissioners in the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE).
The CGE has been in disarray for years and has failed to deliver on its mandate to promote gender equality. It is an organisation with a budget of R60 million and weighty powers vested in it by the constitution that should be used to advance the quality of life of women.
It is essential new commissioners are appointed with the vision, capacity and drive to turn the institution around and ensure that it delivers on its mandate to the people of SA.
Nearly 20 years after the first democratic elections, SA women face some of the highest levels of domestic and sexual violence against women found anywhere in the world. Women in SA are also more likely than men to be unemployed, earn less for similar work and encounter greater barriers to their career advancement.
Women also bear the brunt of poor service delivery and are disproportionately affected by the spread of HIV/Aids.
In short, there has been far too little progress towards achieving gender equality and ensuring that women in SA can access the rights guaranteed to them in the constitution and laid out in the laws of the land.
The accomplishments of the Public Protector over the past year serve as an important reminder of what a determined Chapter 9 institution like the CGE can achieve when it fully exercises its powers as an independent watchdog.
SA needs the CGE to be strong, proactive and fearless in the execution of its duties.
It needs its new commissioners to be inspired leaders in the struggle for gender equality.
The CGE's wide array of legal powers, including the power to subpoena any person, including government officials, and to initiate litigation in its own name, could be highly effective in advancing gender transformation in our country.
Instead, the CGE has been reticent. …