South Africa: Opportunities for rural women in green economy projects

Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System
Date: 11 May 2012
Title: Opportunities for rural women in green economy projects

Pretoria - Government is facilitating opportunities for women in rural, peri-urban and informal settlements to participate in green economy projects such as solar energy, water purification, agriculture, construction, waste management and tourism.

This is according to Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, who said during her Budget Vote in Parliament that her department was working with the Departments of Water and Environmental Affairs and Energy to create these opportunities.

The department was also facilitating financial support and training for women farmers and women co-operatives, together with national and international partners, particularly United Nations Development Programme, UN Women and United Nations Populations Fund.

The minister said the department was also empowering women in construction in collaboration with the Departments of Human Settlements and Public Works.

"We are facilitating opportunities for new women to enter the alternative construction technology field.

"Gombani in Limpopo and Caguba in the Eastern Cape will provide an example of what rural women can achieve if given opportunities. In these two rural communities, women are building houses and women's development centres using alternative technology and with the Department of Land Reform and Rural Development," Xingwana told Parliament.

She added that the department was facilitating women's access to land.

During the course of this year, the department will finalise the engendering of the New Growth Path Framework and the Green Fund so that the initiatives are gender and disability responsive, and that women and people with disabilities benefit from them, including the Job Fund.

"On 24 February this year, we launched the Women Empowerment and Budget Initiative in collaboration with the Motsepe Foundation. We understand that mainstreaming gender into department strategic plans and budgets will help promote gender equality.

"In this partnership, the Motsepe Foundation will conduct baseline research and UNWomen will assist with technical support and capacity-building."

The department was currently involved in the coordination of women's consultation on the proposed Traditional Courts Bill. This follows concerns raised by women regarding this Bill and questions around its constitutionality.

Xingwana said the department's interest was to ensure that the Bill did not reverse the gains that women have made towards empowerment and gender equality in the past 20 years.

The department was also finalising amendments to the Commission on Gender Equality Act to align it to the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act.

Published on: 2012-05-11

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