Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo says the high rate of gender-based violence and femicide in the country erodes the strides made towards the emancipation of women.
"It is more dangerous to be a woman in South Africa than in any other place on this planet. [The word] imbokodo has been abused to mean that women must be thrown into hardships because they are strong.
"Women are expected to bekezela [persevere] and bear unnecessary burdens because they are strong," the Minister said on Monday during a Public Service Women in Leadership event held in Pretoria.
Dlodlo said much more remains to be done to fully emancipate women, despite the progress that has been made to date.
Women make up 53% of public servants; however, they only make up 33% of the senior management.
As of 31 July 2021, the public service workforce had 1 216 812 people, and of those, 754 534 (62%) were women and 462 278 (38%) were men.
Representation of women across all levels shows that there are more women than men up to level 10. However, from levels 11 to 16, which are management positions, there are more men than women.
The Senior Management Service (SMS) category, which comprises levels 13 to 16, has 9 385 positions, with 4 108 (43.77%) filled by women and 5 277 (56.22%) by men.
Dlodlo paid tribute to the women of yesteryear, who paved the way to a more equal society.
"We must thank women such as Bertha Gxowa, Mary Moodley, Helen Joseph, Lilian Ngoyi and many others for how far we have come. We must make them proud with how diligently we carry out the responsibilities entrusted to us."
The event was held under the theme, 'The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Realising Women’s Right', and was hosted jointly by the Department of Public Service and Administration and The Presidency.