President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is “irrevocably committed” to the empowerment of women and prepared to do everything it takes to advance the cause of women.
Ramaphosa’s renewed commitment came at a dialogue on issues affecting women and their role and contribution to the economy.
“Women must know that their rights are promoted, protected and advanced,” he said.
The organisers, Business Women’s Association of South Africa (BWASA), said the dialogue affords a platform to discuss efforts to place women at the centre of economic activity as equal participants.
Ramaphosa announced that said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed to spending a part of their $1bn women empowerment fund in Africa.
The president – who is addressing the dialogue under the theme of ‘The Economy is Woman’ – said he and his wife Tshepo Motsepe met Melinda Gates before the event.
“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is going to donate $1 billion to empower women around the world and I said I want part of that money here in Africa. I’m going to make it a huge programme to be appropriated and embraced by various presidents on the continent, and make sure that women are well empowered economically.”
Ramaphosa said the input from the women at the dialogue would form his plan for how the funding should be spent on economic empowerment of women in South Africa and the continent.
BWASA president, Basetsana Khumalo, said the dialogue must come out with tangible solutions to incorporate women into the economy.
“I want to wake up to a South Africa where gender is not even a question of preference, but it’s about competence, talent and the ability.
“I want to wake up to a country where I have a female president and 25 years later, the trajectory of our people is better, and the unemployment rate has completely diminished,” she said.