Polokwane Mayor Thembi Nkadimeng, in her capacity as Co-president of United Cities and Local Government (UCLG), chaired this body’s virtual meeting of the Africa-Europe support committee for the Charter and UCLG Africa Working Group to facilitate the drafting of the Local Authorities Charter for Gender Equality in Africa last Tuesday afternoon.
In her address, Nkadimeng said that equality, and more specifically gender equality, needs to be put at the heart of all developmental processes to ensure that decision-making is done conscientiously, without forgetting half of the world’s population when it comes to taking decisions that affect all citizens.
“Our equality-driven movement has always unequivocally championed gender equality. Coming out of Africities in 2018 we adopted the ‘Africa-Europe Marrakesh Pact for Local Equality’, and during our World Congress in Durban we agreed to set in motion concrete actions to make the voice of women and girls heard in the localisation process,” Nkadimeng explained.
According to Nkadimeng, the project to create a charter is incredibly pertinent to all not only because, as local leaders, it will allow them to reinforce their actions towards gender equality but also because it is essential to stand by their word and commitment to ensure that the needs and aspirations of African women are met.
“We are already seeing the effects that this pandemic has, where women are more likely to lose their jobs in female-dominated spheres such as the hospitality and tourism sectors and it is likely that women will stay in places of care post Covid-19.
“It is critical, thus, to ensure that we safeguard the progress we’ve made towards gender equality, including hard won gains for sexual and reproductive health and rights,” Nkadimeng reckoned.
“The status of women, the specific needs and unique contributions they make to shape the future of humanity cannot remain invisible.
“It remains essential, in the post-Covid era, to include women and their voices in both the formulation and monitoring of public policies, and especially those that belong to populations that have been historically discriminated against,” Nkadimeng said and added that the already precarious livelihoods of women around the world are now worsening.
“Gender violence is increasing, often exacerbated by precarious housing conditions and yet, women make up the bulk of the health care and basic stores workers that are at the frontline of facing the challenges and represent almost 60% of the workforce on a part-time basis while being under 40% of the total employment.
Story: Barry Viljoen