May 8, 2018
The Thabo Mbeki Foundation is delighted to announce that former Deputy President and current Executive Secretary for the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, will deliver the 9th Thabo Mbeki Africa Day Lecture on Friday, May 25, 2018 at the ZK Matthews Hall, at UNISA in Pretoria.
The theme for this year’s lecture is “Gender Equality and Women Empowerment: A Necessary Paradigm Shift in Africa’s Quest for Development and Poverty Eradication.” After the lecture, Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka will be joined in a Panel Discussion by Dr Jessie Kabwila, a Malawian Member of Parliament and Professor Kopano Ratele, from the University of South Africa. The distinguished journalist, Ms Lerato Mbele, will facilitate the discussion.
Over the years, numerous studies have consistently found that structural reforms to promote gender equality, not only as a human right, together with deliberately focused empowerment efforts to increase women’s economic participation, are fundamental conditions for sustainable economic growth and winning the fight against gender-based poverty.
According to a September 2015 Report produced by McKinsey and Co., titled, “The Power of Parity: How Advancing Women’s Equality can add $12 Trillion to Global Growth”:
“…in a full-potential scenario in which women play an identical role in labor markets to men’s, as much as $28 trillion, or 26 percent, could be added to global annual GDP in 2025 … However, if all countries were to match the progress toward gender parity of the best performer in their region, it could produce a boost to annual global GDP of as much as $12 trillion in 2025. This would double the GDP growth contributed by female workers in the business-as-usual scenario.”
However, a 2017 Report produced by the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, titled, “Leave No One Behind: Taking Action for Transformational Change on Women’s Economic Empowerment”, has found that:
“Globally, women are paid 24 percent less than men; they perform 2.5 times more unpaid care and domestic work in their families and communities; they are concentrated in lower-earning sectors; they encounter widespread violence and harassment at home and in the workplace; and they make up a large percentage of the informal workforce, which is often stigmatized and lacks recognition and legal protection. Ninety percent of 173 economies covered by the World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law 2016 report have at least one law limiting women’s economic participation, restricting them from certain types of professions, hindering their freedom to travel outside the home or country, or constraining their ability to inherit or own land.”
Both these reports highlight institutional, legislative and social factors as negative contributing elements to the minuscule progress thus far registered in the fight against gender equality and the empowerment of women. In this regard, the purpose of the Lecture is to assess the nature and extent of this problem in Africa, how far has Africa gone to achieve Gender equality and what needs to be done to resolve this problem in the context of Africa’s Renaissance.
The Thabo Mbeki Foundation is committed to advancing the struggle for gender equality and the empowerment of women for greater economic, social and political participation. In this regard, we hope that this year’s Africa Day Lecture will assist in making a contribution, however small, in finding practical solutions to some of the barriers to the achievement of gender equality and increased participation of women in the formal economy.
Issued by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation
For Inquiries, contact: Thami Ntenteni @083 256 3586