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DPSA to wrap up Women’s Month with leadership webinar

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The Department of Public Service and Administration will wrap up Women’s Month with a women’s leadership webinar focusing on promoting equality for the future of women in the public service.

The DPSA teamed up with the Director-General in the Presidency, Ms Phindile Baleni to host the women’s leadership webinar in Irene outside Pretoria on Monday, August 30. Public Service and Administration Minister, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo is also scheduled to address the women’s leadership webinar.

Each year on August 9, South Africa celebrates Women’s Day, which is attributed to the more than 20 000 women who staged a historic march on August 9, 1956 at the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act, commonly known as the pass laws of 1950.

Objectives of the Women’s Leadership Webinar

  • Highlight the meaning and understanding of the significance of women’s month;
  • Reflect and acknowledge the role of women employed in the public service;
  • Empower non-SMS women to aspire to leadership roles in order to achieve gender parity;
  • Demonstrate a public service that promotes equality for the future of women;
  • Focus on challenges affecting women daily and workable solutions that could address them;
  • To reflect on priorities and programmes aimed at advancing the empowerment of women and girls, including the eradication of gender-based violence.
  • Highlight and stimulate priorities and programmes to advance empowerment of women in public service; and
  • Reflect on the legacy of Charlotte Maxeke and women of her ilk and the values they embodied.

In August 2007, the Public Service and Administration launched the 8-Principle action plan, which was influenced by a report published by the Public Service Commission on gender mainstreaming initiatives in the public service space. The National Development Plan (NDP) which serves as the country’s blueprint for inclusive prosperity, not conceived with an explicit gender perspective in mind, also pays attention to issues relating to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Government departments are expected to incorporate the Framework on Gender Responsive Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring, Evaluation and Auditing into their activities. Currently the South African public service context, 53% of public servants are women, but women in senior management constitute only 33%.

DPSA’s Director-General, Yoliswa Makhasi said: “this demonstrates that there is a disproportionately negative disconnection between intake of women at lower levels and senior management that must be addressed. Women have also shown to be in the majority in learning institutions and various other sectors of society; yet, this has not fully found expression in the transformation agenda of the public service especially at the leadership level.”

According to Ms Makhasi, as of 31 July 2021, the Public Service workforce had 1 216 812, and of those, 754 534 (62%) were women and 462 278 (38%) were men. 

Representation of women across all levels shows that there are more women than men up to level 10; however, from levels 11 to 16, which are management positions, there are more men than women. The Senior Management Services (SMS) category which is comprised of levels 13 to 16 has 9 385 positions with 4 108 (43.77%) filled by women and 5 277 (56.22%) by men.

Therefore, the webinar will explore and come up with concrete proposals on how to advance gender parity, promote equality and empowerment for women to advance to leadership positions. This year has been declared the year of Mama Charlotte Mannya Maxeke hence the Women’s month theme: “The year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Realising Women’s Rights.”

Had she lived, Mama Maxeke would have turned 150 old this year. Charlotte Maxeke was passionate about inclusivity, education, sound ethics and community development. She also used her influence to ensure that women’s views were considered in decision-making platforms that were traditionally male-dominated.