Women's Month Celebrations

Event date: 
2016-08-01 (All day) to 2016-08-31 (All day)

    Framework for women empowerment   Women in Environment Dialogues        
Introduction and background
The Theme
Media related products
Women in Environment 

Introduction and background


South Africa commemorates Women’s Month in August as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. The Government of South Africa declared August women’s month and 9 August is celebrated annually as Women’s Day.

In 2015, The Department of Environmental Affairs hosted the sixth Women and Environment Dialogue. The dialogue formed part of the Women’s Month celebrations and to celebrate women in the Environment Sector. During her opening address, the Deputy Minister reflected on the achievements and progresses of the environment sector gender initiatives.

The theme of the dialogue was the “Role of Women in Accelerating a Transition towards a green economy”.

Since 1994, South Africa has made significant strides in ensuring gender mainstreaming and the inclusion of women in key decision making processes. The National Environmental Management Act makes it clear that the vital role of women and youth in environmental management and development must be recognised and their full participation must be promoted. The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development also recognised the importance of gender equality in all efforts to achieve environmental sustainability.

Women and the environment is one of the 12 critical areas of concern identified in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted by global leaders at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. The Platform pinpointed three strategic objectives for government action on the environment. These include involving women actively in environmental decision-making at all levels, integrating their concerns and perspectives in policies and programmes, and establishing ways to assess the impact of development and environmental policies on women.

The 2016 theme


South Africa commemorates Women’s Month under the theme: “Women United in Moving South Africa Forward.”

When delivering his address, President Zuma touched on “The Status of Women in the South African economy”. The report outlines progress that has been made in five areas –education, the labour market, access to land property and credit, changes in poverty and inequality as well as unpaid work and contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The President emphasised that “The participation of women in the economy is also critical. The establishment of women cooperatives and small businesses is being prioritised by government including providing support to women traders so that they can earn an income”.

Media related 



Deputy Minister Barbara Thomson's speech at the 6th Women and the Environment Dialogue

I am pleased to join you on the occasion of the 6th Women in the Environment Dialogue and would like to express my appreciation to all of you who have taken time out of your busy schedules to participate in this important event. It is appropriate that we are meeting during a period (Women’s Month) when we pay tribute to the role of women in our society and reflect on our post democratic achievements towards gender equality and women empowerment.   




Women in environment sector



6th Women and the Environment Dialogue 2015

The 2015 Women and Environment Dialogue partners and stakeholders aim to reflect and take stock on the environment sector’s gender mainstreaming progress, successes and challenges thus far and agree on the next decade priorities and opportunities beyond. This will be achieved through engaging on the following thematic areas; Commitments renewal, debates revitalization and advocacy; Policy interventions and gaps; Good practise programmes and projects implementation;  Strengthen evidence base through sharing of research, information and practices.    






Minister Edna Molewa engaged with women in Meteorology and launch the MET Mbokodo Unite 


We, during this month, not only remember the selfless and courageous women of 1956 who made their mark in the liberation struggle. We utilise this opportunity to take stock of the successes we have recorded in bridging the gender divide. We further reflect on the challenges we still experience and carve a way forward in gender mainstreaming and the inclusion of women in key decision making processes.






Environment sector gender strategy 


The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) took a decision during 2013/ 2014 Financial Year to develop a gender strategy to be compliant to provisions of the Sector Gender Framework and the strategy, the Constitution (Act No. 108 of 1996), Women’s Charter for Effective Equality, 1994, the National Framework for Women Empowerment and Gender Equality, 2000 and the Strategic Framework for Gender Equality within the Public Service, 2006. Further to this commitment, the DEA commits itself to take into account principles of gender equality in its employment practices, policies and service delivery. The Department has further committed to take initiatives that aim at addressing the imbalances of the past and gender inequality regardless of race, religion, disability, etc.




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