Fact sheet on women shows mix of suc­cess, fail­ure

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

THE SOUTH African In­sti­tute of Race Re­la­tions re­cently re­leased its Au­gust Fast Facts ‘wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ im­bokodo’. The data re­veals a mixed bag of suc­cess and fail­ure.

At house­hold level, the prov­inces with the high­est pro­por­tion of fe­male-headed houses are the Eastern Cape (51.2%), Lim­popo (49.4%) and KwaZulu-Natal (47.4%).

In terms of house­hold ten­ure, across all race groups more fe­males than males live in house­holds they own and have fully paid off. In par­tic­u­lar, 65.4% of black fe­males have house­holds which are owned and fully paid off, com­pared to 46.9% of black men.

The life ex­pectancy of South Africa’s fe­male pop­u­la­tion fares poorly against other coun­tries. The pro­por­tion of fe­male chil­dren born in 2015 who are ex­pected to sur­vive to the age of 65 and older in South Africa is 48.4% com­pared to 65% in Botswana, 50.4% in Mozam­bique and 60.2% in Uganda.

South Africa fares even worse com­pared to its Brics coun­ter­parts – the pro­por­tion in Brazil is 84.8%, China 87.2% and In­dia 74.3%.

In ed­u­ca­tion, the pic­ture looks bet­ter for women. Fe­males ac­count for 51.3% of the pop­u­la­tion aged 20 and older who have com­pleted Grade 12, and 52.9% of the pop­u­la­tion aged 20 and older who have com­pleted post-school ed­u­ca­tion.

Yet, fe­male in­volve­ment in the labour mar­ket is low. The fe­male labour mar­ket par­tic­i­pa­tion rate is 51.7% whereas the male labour mar­ket par­tic­i­pa­tion rate stands at 69.5%. Also, em­ploy­ment in man­age­ment re­mains skewed in favour of men, with only 21.4% of fe­males hold­ing po­si­tions in top man­age­ment, for in­stance.

Elec­torally, it would seem women have a voice in South Africa’s pol­i­tics. Some 54.9% of reg­is­tered vot­ers are fe­male. Although South Africa has never had a fe­male pres­i­dent, it has one of the high­est rep­re­sen­ta­tion rates of women within Par­lia­ment – 41.7% of South Africa’s MPs are women com­pared to 15.8% in Botswana, 17.4% in Ghana and 12% in Nige­ria.

But it is not only rel­a­tive to African coun­ter­parts where South Africa fares well; in Aus­tralia the per­cent­age of fe­male MPs stands at 24.1%, Ger­many 33.3% and the UK at 30.8%. As vic­tims of crime, adult fe­males (54%) and chil­dren (39%) tend to be vic­tims of sex­ual of­fences whereas adult males more of­ten are dis­pro­por­tion­ately vic­tims of mur­der (82%) and se­ri­ous as­sault (65%).

“While progress can be seen, there is a need for a fur­ther up­turn in the so­cio-eco­nomic sta­tus of women in South Africa. Pol­icy fo­cus should be aimed at a more in­clu­sive econ­omy, in­clud­ing the safety and se­cu­rity of women,” said IRR re­search an­a­lyst, Unathi Mat­wasa.

It seems women have a voice in SA pol­i­tics

PIC­TURE: JA­SON BOUD

ROCK STEADY: More women than men head house­holds they own and have paid for fully, but 54% of adult women in SA are vic­tims of sex­ual crime.

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