From transport to power, most sectors in South Africa and elsewhere must focus on promoting gender equality to mitigate the continent’s socio-economic issues. While this is a beautiful idea that encourages growth, it is not easy for women and girls to enter spaces dominated by men under conditions set out to deprive them of these opportunities due to societal challenges. This article will look at some of the benefits of gender mainstreaming in different sectors and industries, how we can all play a part to employ more women and girls, and what the future holds.
Empowerment Is Power
Any industry that prides itself in constantly providing ample opportunities for socio-economic development to those who deserve them regardless of their gender tends to succeed. While it is important to relate to marginalised groups and those that have been deprived of opportunities, one of the most effective ways to help shape a new world is by empowering them. This means more and more women and girls need to be inducted and educated in industries that are already women-led and run. There is beauty in young girls being exposed to real-life role models.
One of the ways in which empowerment for women can be showcased is by affording them freedom of choice. For example, e-hailing company Uber has introduced a women-only option for their female SA drivers, which lets the drivers choose whether they want to be of service to women only or not. This creates a safety net for South African women, especially when working late shifts. Empowerment can start small and create a world of possibilities for all those who live in it.
More Participation, Better Economy
With everyone on board and women and men receiving the same opportunities, we will then be able to have the necessary amount, if not more, of skilled people in industries that seek more hands. It is no secret that a lack of skilled individuals results in outsourcing from other countries, which takes the job opportunity abroad as opposed to keeping them within the country. We can start with the health sector, given that the Covid-19 pandemic requires alertness from the health department. Having more skilled South African scientists and medical practitioners puts us in a better position to fight the pandemic.
Educating and encouraging women and girls is important because it shapes the future of our continent and the world. If we get more and more women in positions of power, pay women equal salaries and wages, and afford women the complete freedom to choose their careers and shape their own world, then we stand a better chance of more developed sectors and industries. We all have a role to play; however, large companies, as well as public sectors, need to continue to have conversations around the lived experiences of women and girls to better relate to the gender equality notion, If we can understand the challenges that women and girls face on a daily basis and also understand the challenges young boys face in this ever-evolving world, then we will easily create a culture that is inclusive across all industries.