CAPE TOWN-- The Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Bathabile Dlamini, says her department will, for the remainder of the month of August, host a series of dialogue sessions aimed at championing women's issues.

A separate dialogue will also be held for men where they will be asked to describe a woman's standing in society as a push is being made to make patriarchy a thing of the past", Dlamini said this when she led a debate on National Women's Day in the National Assembly here Tuesday.

As a department, we are hosting a series of dialogues in various forums and sectors, including women professionals, academia, intellectuals, women in business, rural women and girls living in rural areas, traditional leadership and young women. We are also focusing on women in institutions of higher learning," she said.

We have witnessed high levels of femicide and our country is sitting on a ticking time bomb. Through these dialogues, young women have said to us 'we are afraid � we think we are the next victim'.

Held under the theme, 'Women united in moving South Africa forward', Dlamini dedicated the debate to the contribution that struggle stalwart Mama Albertina Sisulu made in championing women's issues as a woman leader during the country's liberation struggle.

Dlamini said Mama Sisulu worked through many stages of the organization of women and saw through the organic growth of women's struggles and the women's movement. Mama Sisulu was part of the campaign for the Women's Charter, the Freedom Charter, as well as the 1956 march.

We have not yet achieved the total emancipation of women, therefore, the struggle for women's emancipation continues. The women of 1956 taught us the importance of unity amongst women from all backgrounds, she said.

As part of the series of dialogues, the department will also hold a separate dialogue that will involve men in the topic of patriarchy. On 28 August, we are going to hold a men's dialogue in Qwaqwa in Free State Province (where men must attend) and tell us their understanding of what women mean to them," the Minister said.

Women must tell us what they understand about gender equality. Men have to commit themselves to be agents of change. They must not always talk about the empowerment of women when they need to be empowered themselves.

They must not talk about the mentoring of women when they have to be mentored themselves. They must not always think that they are going to lead us as women. They must understand the Constitution of the country and the equality clause, and that women's rights are human rights."


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