Celebrating South Africa’s journey towards equality News

16 August, 2023

On August 9th, 1956, over 20,000 women of diverse backgrounds, proudly marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, to protest against pass laws. The laws mandated all non-white South Africans to carry the passbook at all times to restrict their movement, manage urbanization and allot migrant labor.  To commemorate South Africa’s National Women’s Day, Cowater International celebrated the women who championed the struggle to build a more inclusive society.

Women in South Africa continue to bear the brunt of harassment and gender-based violence. According to a report by the South African Police Service, in 2020 there were approximately 53,293 cases of reported sexual offenses, with an overwhelming majority (over 98 percent) of the victims being female. In addition, harassment in the workplace is a significant concern that affects individuals across various industries and sectors, including the public sector.

With funding from the Government of Canada, Cowater International-led Strengthening Ethics and Integrity Project in South Africa (SEIP) is providing technical support to the South African Department of Public Service and Administration’s Transformation Unit in the revision of South Africa’s Policy and Procedure for the Management of Sexual Harassment for the Public Service.

The purpose of the revision is to identify and capture all forms of harassment that occur in the world of work, ensure alignment with the International Labour Organization’s standards and ensure that gender and inclusion factors are considered in all harassment prevention and management interventions.  Moreover, SEIP support includes the development of various tools to operationalize relevant policies and procedures, and mainstream gender in the public service. By being actively involved in the development of inclusion and gender equality initiatives, Global Affairs Canada, through SEIP, joins the Government of South Africa in its efforts to advance inclusion and equality in the public service.

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