Are men the key to accelerating gender equality?

Incredible progress has been made over the last few decades, but we have a long way to go if we want to reach equality.

Today, no country on earth has achieved gender equality, and current research suggests it will take 80 more years before we get there.

Despite recent progress, access to quality education is still not universal. 48.1% of adolescent girls in sub-Saharan Africa remain out of school compared to 44% of boys.

Globally, 15 million girls will never get the chance to learn to read or write as compared to 10 million boys.

Speaking to Eusebius McKaiser, Representative of UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office Anne Githuku-Shongwe says one of the big debates they have been having at the Department of Labour, is the issue of equal pay for work of equal value.

READ:Topbet whistleblower's job is secure - Commission of Gender Equality

Globally, men earn 27% more than women... So if a woman was sitting in your job, she would earn 75% of what you earn according to the data and statistics.

Anne Githuku-Shongwe, Representative, UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office

So we go back to labour and ask if people have complained. And they said to us in truth, in South Africa, the complains we have been getting are race-based. So we have got black men who come to complain about race and equal pay but we don't have women who come forward to complain about equal pay.

Anne Githuku-Shongwe, Representative, UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office

She adds some of the reasons women don't complain is that women are so burdened with what they carry on a daily basis.

That we do have a few gender activists who make a lot of noise and strong feminists who make a lot of noise, we are always pushing against the wall because every institution that we live in, from the cradle to the grave is led primarily by men.

Anne Githuku-Shongwe, Representative, UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office

And so for us, it is just a constant battle to just get men to listen to us. In truth, if we are really are successful in doing what we are trying to do, which is to shift the burden of convincing the world that equality is a necessity in our lifetime to men, then half the job is done.

Anne Githuku-Shongwe, Representative, UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office

She adds that one of the things that they find is that in the South African parliament gender equality numbers vary from 41 to 45%.

But the bottom line is this, how are we spending our national budget in driving gender equality. If we look at any department and we say to them show us your procurement of goods and services, who do you buy from?

Anne Githuku-Shongwe, Representative, UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office

The national cost of public goods and services procurement is R635 Billion and barely 10% of that goes to women.

Anne Githuku-Shongwe, Representative, UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office

Listen below to hear how men can be key to gender equality...


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