Report of the national women s conference august 2011 birchwood hotel kempton park
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REPORT OF THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S CONFERENCE: AUGUST 2011 Birchwood Hotel, Kempton Park. “Working together for equal opportunities and progress for all women” , with the slogan “Forward to the Decade of African Women”. INTRODUCTION.

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Report of the national women s conference august 2011 birchwood hotel kempton park


“Working together for equal opportunities and progress for all women”, with the slogan “Forward to the Decade of African Women”.


  • The Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD) as the lead department in Government for the promotion and advancement of women’s empowerment and gender equality convened the Conference.

  • The intention was to review the progress made in the implementation of gender equality and women’s empowerment measures in pursuit of a national gender agenda in the country.

  • The Conference deliberations were premised on Governments’ five national priorities and twelve critical outcomes for 2009-2014. Hence the Theme: “Working together for equal opportunities and progress for all women”

Introduction con

  • More than one thousand (1000) women from different sectors in the country attended the conference, including young women and the girl child, women with disabilities, rural-based women, women in the informal sector of the economy, elderly women, women in media, women in informal settlements and townships, professional women, unemployed women, women in business, women in small, medium and micro-enterprises, women in politics, women living with HIV and women in sport, among others.

  • At least fifteen (15) members of the Executive including Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Premiers addressed the Conference.

Purpose of the conference

  • The Conference was meant to re-examine progress made by government and development partners towards commitments of a non-sexist society, identifying shortcomings and propose recommendations that would ensure that women’s issues and gender equality are mainstreamed across public and private institutions.

  • The intention was to consult with the women’s sector towards the development of:

  • A National Strategy and Implementation Plan for Rural Women’s Development;

  • A National Policy on Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality towards a Gender Equality Bill;

  • Women, Peace and Security Plan of Action on UNSCR 1325;

  • A National Council against Gender Based Violence;

  • The Plan of Action on the 365 Days of No Violence against Women; and

  • Engendering the New Growth Path and the Job Fund.


The Conference aimed at consulting on substantive issues affecting and impacting on women’s lives through the following ways:

  • Identifying ways to strengthen institutional arrangements that support transformation and the implementation of gender equality and women’s empowerment;

  • Reviewing the efficiency of the national gender machinery;

  • Assessing mechanisms towards bridging the gap between policy and practice for effective implementation, coordination and accountability; and,

  • Providing the platform for women to articulate their concerns, needs and issues. This included rural women, young women, women in labour movements, women in informal trade and small business, and women with disabilities, among others.

  • Discussions on the development of a national plan of action on women, peace and security, and the 365 Day National Plan of Action on ending gender based violence;

  • Creating the space for women to engage on job creation, decent work and economic empowerment programmes.

Conference programme

  • The four days of conferencing included:

    (i) an Official Opening Ceremony;

    (ii) the commemoration of the Pan African Women’s Day;

    (iii) the launching of the South African Chapter on the African Union Decade for Women (2010-2020);

    (iv) discussions on women’s economic empowerment, rural women’s development, development partnerships, education of women and girls, women’s health issues, gender based violence, women and climate change, poverty alleviation, and women, peace and security and

    (v) a high-level Closing Ceremony presided over by the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa.

  • The Conference also included a session entitled “Face to Face: Sharing of Lived experiences”where women from different sectors addressed the conference.

Pre and post nwc

The DWCPD undertook several sector consultations with women in the build-up to and follow-on after the conference to ensure that women’s voices are given as broad a platform as possible. The process of consultations included:

  • A National Summit for Rural Women held on 13-14 May 2011 in Tzaneen, Limpopo where approximately 400 rural women from across all 9 provinces participated;

  • A National Young Women’s Summit from 21-22 July 2011 in the Premier Hotel, OR Tambo, JHB where approximately 300 young women from across the country participated. This was done in partnership between DWCPD, NYDA and the UNFPA;

  • a short meeting with women in the media on 29 July 2011 where about 20 media women participated; and

  • a National Summit for Women with Disabilities held on 29 August 2011 in the Premier Hotel, OR Tambo, JHB where about 300 women with disabilities from all nine provinces participated.


  • Deliberations during the Conference showed that women were in full support development and enactment of a gender equality bill.

  • Also highlighted that the challenge of the severe under representation of women in mining and energy sectors must be addressed by encouraging girls to get into engineering, science, technology and mathematics fields of study and work.

  • The Conference expressed support for the establishment of a land management commission in order to look at the issue of land reform especially for women.

  • Women were encouraged to participate in the upcoming Global Conference for States Parties (COP 17) on climate change as well as in all decision making forums.


  • Women also supported the need for the 365 days of action against gender based violence as well as the efforts to encourage HIV testing and the dedicated focus on reducing and eliminating maternal mortality.

  • The Conference clearly pointed out that since 1994 the country has made significant progress in putting in place a legislative and policy framework for advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. Through the Constitution and a range of comprehensive statutory provisions the rights of women and girls have been promoted and protected.

  • It also noted that while progress has been made on a number of gender equality fronts there is at the same time a consistent and growing concern with a range of matters regarding the institutionalization of the women’s agenda for societal transformation and the inalienable realization of women’s rights.

  • It was overtly pointed out that we are still to realize full de facto equality or true equality in practice. Many challenges remain in the creation of a women-friendly environment and an engendered society which is capable of eradicating the many practices that constrains women’s advancement and empowerment.

Key emerging issues

  • Access to Information

  • Continued Dialogue

  • The ‘Green Agenda’

  • Expanding Opportunities

  • Engendering the New Growth Path

  • Financing Opportunities

  • Safety and Security

Commitments made

  • The DWCPD to hold bilateral meetings and sign MOUs with Government National Departments and Premiers’ Offices at the provincial level to build partnerships and develop joint strategies for taking forward the women’s empowerment and gender equality programmeof action;

  • The National Policy on Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality and the Gender Equality Bill to review gaps in current implementation, policies and legislation and ensure compliance;

  • National and provincial department pledged their support and cooperation with DWCPD


Key National Priorities for Women and Girls were grouped as follows:

1. Economic Empowerment, Job creation, Decent work and sustainable livelihoods for women

The DTI, Public Works, Economic Development, Energy, Water and Environmental Affairs, Mineral Resources, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Labour, Human Settlements and Rural Development and Land Reform

 2. Education for girls and women

Departments of Basic Education, Higher Education and Training; Science and Technology, Public Works and Communication

 3. Health for girls and women

Departments of Health and Social Development

4. Rural development, food security and land reform for women and girls

Departments of Rural Development and Land Reform; Public Works, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Communication; Social Development; Energy; Water and Environmental Affairs

5. Fighting gender based violence

Departments of Justice and Constitutional Development; Correctional Services, NPA, Social Development, Health, Basic Education and SAPS


Four major recommendations emerged from the Conference, with several smaller activities contained within each.

  • (i) that equity measures must be mainstreamed across the work of government;

  • (ii) economic empowerment, job creation and sustainable livelihoods for women through an engendered New Growth Path, the Industrial Policy Action Plan, EPWP, increase by 30% number of women accessing finance through the Isivande Women’s Fund and other existing funds, increase support to women-owned business enterprises; prioritize women in investment growth and employment creation; and promote women’s involvement in broad-based economic participation through targeted interventions to achieve more inclusive growth;


  • (iii) rural women’s development through increased job creation, of the five hundred-thousand (500 000) jobs that will be created in the rural sector between 2011 and 2020, at least 50% of the jobs to be allocated to rural women, increased access and ownership of landwhere atleast 50% ownership by women of the 411 recapitalized farms, 30% women ownership of the 27 irrigation schemes that will be revitalized in the current MTEF, 50% of state owned farms awarded to women farmers, and special programmes to foster resourcing of both finances and equipment for women farmers;

  • (iv) mineral resources and women’s empowerment through skills building for women to enter the mining sector, engender the Small Scale Mining Strategy and ensure that the Mining Charter promotes opportunities for women, especially young women and rural women in mining related sectors.

Progress by dwcpd since nwc
Progress by DWCPD since NWC

MOUs submitted to Departments [24]:

  • Department of Labour;

  • Department of Human Settlements;

  • Department of Higher Education and Training

  • Department of Home Affairs;

  • Department of Health;

  • Department of Energy

  • Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

  • Department of Water Affairs.

  • Department of Social Development

  • Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

  • Department of Energy and Mineral Resources

  • Department of Economic Development

  • Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

Progress by dwcpd since nwc1
Progress by DWCPD since NWC

MOUs submitted to Departments [24]:

  • Department of Basic Education

  • National Prosecuting Authority

  • Department of Trade and Industry

  • Department of Transport

  • Department of Human Settlements

  • Department of Public Service and Administration

  • South Africa Police Services

  • National Prosecuting Authority

  • Department of Home Affairs

  • Office of the Premier: Northern Cape

  • Office of the Premier: KwaZulu Natal

Progress by dwcpd on mous
Progress by DWCPD on MOUs

  • MOUs Finalized

    • Department of Human Settlements

    • Department of Higher Education and Training

    • Department of Home Affairs

    • Department of Energy

  • MOUs Signed

    - Department of Health

    - Department of Rural Development and Land Reform

    - Office of the Premier Northern-Cape

    - Nelson Mandela Children Fund

    - National Development Agency

Other progress

  • 10 Women Projects to be supported by the IDC

  • WEGE Bill submitted to cabinet, gazetted and consulted on widely.

  • Mainstreaming Strategy drafted

  • M&E Framework and Results based Matrix drafted

  • Gender Budgeting strategy initiated

  • Rural Development Strategy drafted

  • National Council against GBV established and to be launched in December 2012

  • Women’s cooperatives and projects in green economy initiated

  • Positions of DDG and Chief Directors filled (4) and position of one Director: M&E advertised in November 2012.


    All National Council commitments will be monitored as soon as the M&E framework is finalised and operationalized (by April 01, 2013)