Women empowerment necessary, says ex-South Africa deputy president

August 8th, 2011 - 7:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) Women should be given due recognition for their work in politics, education and social services, former deputy president of South Africa Baleka Mbete said here Monday.

On a visit to India, the South African leader said women empowerment in every segment is necessary.

Addressing a conference on women empowerment, Mbete said: “In developing countries like India or South Africa, women still face various forms of discrimination and exploitation. They continue to suffer cowardly acts like rape. So women empowerment is necessary.”

The conference, organised by South African high commission, was held to commemorate the Aug 9, 1956 womens’ march in South Africa, where women from all races and various parts of the country marched to Pretoria, demanding their rights.

“Right from 1956 till now, women in South Africa have fought a long-drawn battle against racism and prejudice. We have developed a lot,” Mbete said.

However, South Africa has a high representation of women in parliament, at around 45 percent.

“Today, the number of women participating in the mainstream economy as business people is increasing,” she said.

But she added that challenges like lack of jobs, education and prevalence of AIDS remain.

“It’s not just creating policies and rights to protect women, but to make sure that women know their rights,” Mbete added.

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