Press Release

08 March 2013

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane commemorates International Women’s Day

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has joined members of the international community in observing the International Women’s Day (IWD) today, 08 March 2013.

The Minister said: “We join the peoples of the world in recognising the importance of women in society and their contribution to social progress, international peace and security.  It is through our collective efforts in the struggle for the full emancipation of women that we were able to forge international solidarity with the rest of humanity in the fight for human rights, dignity and equality. Though much progress has been made, our society cannot utterly assert itself free from gender-based discrimination and violence, inequality, gender wage discrepancies, inequities in access to land and social services.”

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane added that: “In the recent past, the international community has seen, heard and read about shocking acts of gender-based violence such as the rape cases of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh Pandey on a public bus in New Dehli and that of 17-year-old Anene Booysen in South Africa.

“Acts of brutal violence against women, rape and murder necessitate that we raise awareness to combat and prevent this scourge in our society. We welcome the newly established Council for Gender-Based Violence and the establishment of the Sexual Offences Courts. These are part of our commitments as a country to deal effectively with gender-based violence” the Minister said.

The Minister also said that: “We welcome and encourage the messages of support from the international community, particularly those emanating from the 57th session of UN Commission on the Status of Women whose emphasis is on preventing and ending violence against women and girls. We anticipate that these messages will be fully embraced and translated into plans of action by women, men, young people, civil society, the private sector, labour, religious organisations and governments.”

In conclusion, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane urged everyone to “spread the concept of ubuntu on this day, to defend equal rights of men and women, and reaffirm our commitment to the right to human dignity and worth of all human beings. It is TIME FOR ACTION: “Prevent and end violence against women and girls”.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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