Public Service and Administration Deputy Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga(centre) flanked by women leaders in the public service from left are National School of Government acting Director-General, Ms Phindile Mkhwanazi, Deputy Director-General: Administration, Ms Linda Dludla, chairperson of the Public Service Co-Ordinating Bargaining Council, Ms Ingrid Dimo and motivational speaker, Ms Lindiwe Motshaba

Public Service and Administration Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, said prioritizing women in accessing job training and skills development opportunities is key towards the total emancipation of women.

Speaking at the Department of Public Service and Administration annual Women’s Day celebrations held north of Pretoria on Friday, the Deputy Minister said it will remain relevant to pay tribute to more than 20 000 women who staged a historic march on August 9, 1956 at the Union Buildings, Pretoria to protest against the pass laws.

“The democracy we enjoy today came at a price, some women sacrificed their families and lives to advance the struggle for women equality, which is why we cannot at any time take our democracy for granted.

“Skills development practitioners and in particular the National School of Government (NSG) should prioritize women”.

Deputy Minister Chikunga also used the event to challenge women in senior positions in the public service to assist empower other women in junior positions.

“Those women in Senior Management Service (SMS), the question is how many women have you empowered, mentored or assisted to be better employees in the public service? “

“Our struggle for women emancipation and equality will be useless if once we are up there, we forget about women at lower levels.

“To achieve the 50/50 parity at leadership levels, women in leadership should assist us to achieve the targets. Equality, women at lower levels should help us to find them and uplift them”.

The Deputy Minister said however, women will not only be promoted because they are women. “We want you to be competent, qualified and deserving to be promoted”.

She said women must understand that getting a qualification is not only for themselves but for the country as well so that educated people can lead the country in the private sector, government, parliament and society.

The Deputy Minister concluded her speech by reminding women that despite the great strides made since 1994, “we are committed to continuing with the struggle of total emancipation of women.”