Ending inequality and strengthening women's organised formations will take centre stage during this year's Women's Month.
Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, officially launched Women's Month today, which will be observed throughout August.
This year's Women's Month will be observed under the theme, 'Generation Equality: Realising Women's Rights for an Equal Future'.
"We want to hear the voices of women in rural areas, in informal settlements, young women and girls, elderly women, women with disabilities, women workers, the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual or allied) community, women in faith-based communities, women traditional leaders, women professionals and across sectors.
"We should join hands across all spheres of government and with all sectors of society as part of a Decade of Action towards gender equality. We want to see sustainable programmes that are geared towards achieving this goal.
"Together with civil society, we are establishing action coalitions, which will work to drive visible change for women in our country," said Nkoana-Mashabane.
The concept of 'Generation Equality' is a global campaign and links South Africa to global efforts to achieve gender equality by 2030.
With the COVID-19 pandemic laying bare gender disparities, Nkoana-Mashabane said it is critical that women's access to government's social and economic relief measures is urgently addressed. Women, youth and people with disabilities have been hardest hit by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister said her department's focus continues to be on inter-sectionality, because women, youth and people with disabilities continue to face multiple forms of deprivation in society.
Government will use Women's Month to contribute to curbing gender discrimination and gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF), and advance the rights of women and girls in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres of life.
The Minister said the country must continue to strengthen the men's movement, so that they can play a meaningful role in ending GBVF, and contribute to behaviour change and the breaking of stereotypes towards the goal of gender equality.
Women's organised formations will also be mobilised to become part of sustainable 'action coalitions', which are collectives of change makers of all ages and genders to tackle the unfinished business of empowering women.
"We will continue to develop national consensus around gender policy priorities and programmes to advance the gender agenda. Our call to action to the nation today is be part of the generation that ends gender inequality.
"I am calling upon change makers of all ages and genders to tackle the unfinished business of empowering women. We can achieve this through a multi-generational campaign, under the slogan, 'Be a part of the generation that ends gender inequality'," Nkoana-Mashabane said.
Government will also accelerate the implementation of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on GBVF, in partnership with civil society.
Women's Day on 9 August will be celebrated virtually, with President Cyril Ramaphosa set to deliver the keynote address.