_: It is indeed a great honour for us as the Provincial Government to be involved in this massive skills investment programme in young people, namely the Techno Girl Programme.
This is a significant programme because it is aimed at encouraging young school girls to pursue different career paths in various sectors of the economy, especially those that have been previously male-dominated.
This programme is a milestone development that will go a long way to expose the girl child to the real world of work, allow them to make informed career choices as well as to gain much valuable practical skills.
As we collectively seek to build a new society that is based on the principles of gender equality, we must consciously put in place mechanisms that strive to empower women and girl children.
We are gathered here today to make a bold statement that investing in the future of the girl child is investment in the future development of our country.
We would like to see that young women play a significant and meaningful role in the country’s economic development and growth by becoming creators of wealth and job opportunities.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this programme will also equip the girl child with various skills including theoretical and practical knowledge to become responsible citizens of the country, while assisting in the fight against poverty and unemployment.
The National Minister of Children, Women and People with Disabilities Ms Lulu Xingwana’s said during the national launch of the programme and I quote “As we launch the Techno Girl project today, we are also making a firm and unequivocal statement that the continued discrimination of women and perpetuation of patriarchy have no place in a free and democratic society such as ours.
Through this project, we are determined to change the face the South African market where there is lack of significant representation of women in the professional and scientific profession.”
We are thus confident as the government in collaboration with the private sector that this programme will serve as a catalyst to allow more and more of our girl children to pursue fields in Science, Maths, Engineering and Technology where women have historically been under-represented.
Through this intervention, our girl children will no longer see the fields of science and technology as intimidating. This will auger well for the economic development of our country.
Programme director, our democratic government remains steadfast to the goal of women empowerment. Promoting access to educational opportunities and skills development is key to addressing the socio-economic conditions of women in the long-term.
We are collectively as a nation taking proactive measures to address the factors preventing women from participating in politics and public life.
These include lack of access to quality education and health care violence, poverty, the double burden of paid and unpaid work.
Social inclusion and the participation in skills development programmes will ensure that girls have time and space to become active citizens and develop social networks and life skills.
Girls achieving their full potential will bring growth for the society as a whole.
We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to the private sector for responding directly and practically to the challenges addressing the real challenges that confront us as we strive to build a representative and productive nation. To date 101 girls were placed for job shadowing during the June/ July holiday period in the province.
Furthermore, this programme will instil confidence in young women and can set a strong foundation to nurture future leadership skills in women. Skills development is central to improving productivity.
In turn, productivity is an important source of improved living standards and growth.
Effective skills development systems – which connect education to technical training, technical training to labour market entry and labour market entry to workplace and lifelong learning – can help countries sustain productivity growth and translate that growth into more and better jobs.
Experience shows that all countries that have succeeded in linking skills with productivity need to build up capabilities and knowledge systems within the economy and society which induce and maintain a sustainable process of economic and social development.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as we celebrate women’s month, we reaffirm our commitment to work tirelessly for a South Africa that promotes and monitors the realisation of the rights of women, children and people with disabilities.
At the core of our struggle for liberation was a determination to ensure that all our people are liberated from a life of indignity, discrimination and oppression.
We are celebrating a century of heroic struggles by the women of our country, such as Charlotte Maxeke, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, RahimaMoosa, Sophie de Bruyn, AlbertinaSisulu, Ruth Mompati, Dorothy Nyembe, WinnieMadikizela-Mandela who are an embodiment of hundred years of a relentless forward march to total emancipation, equality, justice and democracy. Unarmed and defenceless, they challenged the might and brutality of successive oppressive regimes in order to ensure that future generations live in a South Africa that truly belongs to all.
We are grateful for their sacrifices and inspired by their courage, and will carry the baton towards equality, employment and poverty eradication.
It is because of their inspirational role that we want to ensure that everyone have the chance to reach their full potential; that is our objective to overcome discrimination and the political and social barriers to gender equality.
We want to see women choose and ensure that their place in society and their capacity to lead is recognised by everyone.
Programme Director, Minister Trevor Manuel, Chairperson of the National Planning Commission, pointed out during the handing over of the National Planning Commission Report to the President that “It is a plan for a better future – a future in which no person lives in poverty, where no one goes hungry, where there is work for all, a nation united in the vision of our constitution… It is a plan for our collective future. [And] it is up to all of us to make it work,” he said.
He further said it is a plan “To unite all South Africans around a common purpose: Manuel warned this would be a “hollow call” unless the lives of young black people improved.
This pillar recognises that the effectiveness of “redress measures” such as black economic empowerment and employment equity must improve.
It is a plan for our collective future. It is up to all of us to make it work. We speak of a future with expanding opportunities.
We speak of a future we must shape, because we care and because we cannot miss the opportunity to do so, he emphasised.
Building on our history and our collective achievements since 1994, our challenge is to build a future fit for our children, a future that our people deserve.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this plan enjoins all of us to invest in the future of our children especially our girl child to ensure that we build an inclusive and equal society with equal opportunities.
To the young school girls, I wish you every possible success and we will stand beside you every step of the Way.