Mtsweni: “Society first must change the mind-set of boys”

FIRST: Mpumalanga's first woman Premier Refilwe Mtsweni. PICTURE BY Zibonele Mncwango.

Government will continue to strengthen the fight against the scourge of women abuse.

Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni says one of the ways to fight the brutality meted out against women in our society is first to change how boys think so that when they become men they do not see “patriarchy” as something they should inherit.

She said it was “toxic masculinity” that was defining the patriarchal society we are living in and that changing it should begin with boys at a tender age.

She said most of the time the culprits were known to their victims and most of the victims were financially dependent on their abusers because of the issue of women being placed under the rung of the ladder of economic opportunities.

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“We call upon men to not be silent bystanders,” the Premier said.

“If we change the mind-set and establish a different value system, a significant portion of the war against gender-based violence shall be won,” Mtsweni said.

She was addressing scores who had come to celebrate Women’s Month at the Kwaggafontein stadium on Saturday mid-day.

The whole month of August in South Africa commemorates the Thursday morning of 9 August 1956 when thousands of women marched to the Union Building to demand the end to pass laws.

A petition containing about 100 000 signatures was delivered to Apartheid officials by the female marchers.

Mtsweni: "Society first must change the mind-set of boys"

Mtsweni said it worth celebrating that since the dawn of democracy in 1994 more women have been seen ascending to positions of power like herself who became the first female Premier of the province this year and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who became the first woman to lead the African Union.

She said since 1994 the number of women in Parliament has been seen increasing – from 27.7% in 1994 to 41.8% in 2014 and “it’s encouraging to note the importance that the ruling party attaches to gender parity”.

“Yes, there remains significant room for growth,” she said.

“We urge local government to follow this trend and ensure that more women are appointed to strategic roles. It is unacceptable that 24 years after the advent of democracy that women constitute 24% of managers appointments to municipalities,” said Mtsweni.

(edited by ZK)

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