President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his weekly letter to the nation on Monday 4th October that the inaugural women’s economic assembly, which will convene in Gauteng later in the first week of October, will develop a common plan of action for advancing women’s economic empowerment.
The 1000 Women Trust announced the Restart Network in July 2021 – a business network on cell phone WhatsApp where women share and learn and find mentors.
Through the Restart Network, 1000 Women Trust wants to inspire women who have suffered job losses to restart by providing them with income-generating ideas or skills for better jobs. The Trust also wants to invite all women in business to join and lend a helping hand as business mentors to those who have experienced job losses and trauma. The Trust calls on all women to join the network.
There is an ongoing support service to empower women with a Whatsapp group run by 1000 Women Trust for instant advice and assistance in the pursuit of creating self-sustainable income for them.
1000 Women Trust also supports women by referring them to mentors and business coaches and by setting up one-on-one conversations for them with successful business leaders. The Trust will offer opportunities to women to do marketing on the 1000 Women social media page. The organization will also link and connect them to inspirational financial and social resources.
.The President said in his newsletter that if South Africans are to achieve meaningful equality between men and women, the country needs to ensure the full and equal participation of women in the economy.
He said there are more men in employment than women. Men are more likely than women to be in paid employment, and women are more likely to be doing unpaid work.
The most recent employment numbers show the unemployment rate of black African women is the highest at 41% percent, more than 4 percentage points higher than the national average.
Pres Ramaphosa said that in 2020, the government announced that at least 40 percent of public sector procurement will go to women-owned businesses.
“As we work towards this target, we are calling on the private sector to make a similar commitment.
A number of economic sectors, such as automotive, agriculture, mining, and energy, will present commitments and action plans to enhance the participation of women-owned businesses. Some government departments and state-owned enterprises will also present their commitments.
Over the past year, the government has been erecting the scaffolding for women’s participation in procurement, establishing an institutional framework for operationalization, holding capacity building and training workshops for women-owned businesses, and linking up women-owned businesses with public sector opportunities.
Although some departments have increased their procurement spend on women-owned businesses, effective monitoring is needed to ensure this translates to tangible growth and sustainability.
“For us to realize our ambitious goals, business needs to be on board. The financial services sector must work to broaden access to credit and digital financial services like e-commerce and online banking. Lack of financing impedes the expansion and sustainability of many women-owned businesses, especially SMMEs,” Pres. Ramaphosa added.
“We need to ensure greater social and other protection for women employed in the informal sector and in elementary and domestic work occupations,” the President added.