The virtual launch of an assessment report on the Empowerment of Women in the Green Industry Policy on July 20 has been welcomed by Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina, who delivered an address at the event.
The report is the result of the collaboration between the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, the United Nations (UN) Industrial Development Organisation, UN Women and the German government.
The report is part of the global joint programme called Economic Empowerment of Women in Green Industry, whose purpose is to advise policymakers and practitioners on the establishment and implementation of a policy framework to integrate gender and green industry policies.
The aim of the programme is to effect change and empower more women to take leadership roles and participate in green industry as entrepreneurs or industry professionals.
Gina said the report was an important step towards developing an informed, coherent and coordinated policy and implementation framework.
“The data collected on opportunities, constraints and possible measures to increase women’s leadership and participation in the green industry and green entrepreneurship in South Africa will prove invaluable in charting the way forward for us as a country.”
She added that the report would also provide an evidence base to enable a national dialogue on how to formulate or reformulate existing gender responsive green industrial policies, as well as adopt and implement them.
Gina said it was clear that gender equality was intertwined with sustainable development as reflected in the nexus identified between the UN’s Sustainable Developments Goals 5 and 12.
Further, she said the transition from a linear to a circular economy needed to be inclusive and collaborative in all its aspects, including the participation of both genders.
“The DTIC has captured this synergy in its joint performance indicators focusing on the promotion of transformation to enable greater inclusion and growth; and empowerment of designated groups.”
This, Gina added, uses the range of public tools such as procurement, incentives, technical support and enabling opportunities and the green economy.
In addition, she said the DTIC’s sector-specific master plans that have been produced by government contain clear commitments for transformation, as well as women empowerment and inclusion.
“Through the master plans that have already been finalised – such as those in the poultry, sugar, steel and leather and footwear sectors – we will make sure there is transformation and that women are empowered to play an important role in the growth of the economy of our country,” said Gina.
There are also opportunities that will open up for women beyond South Africa’s borders as a result of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, she noted, adding that these should be taken advantage of.
Going forward, Gina urged all participants to ensure that issues raised in the report about the empowerment of women in the green industry be shared with all women who are interested in entering the sector.