Call for economic agency for SA women
17 August 2012
More needs to be done to empower women in the informal sector and it is necessary
to establish an economic development agency for women, says Trade and Industry
Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe.
"More needs to be done to improve the conditions of the women in the informal
sector to ensure that ultimately they grow their enterprises and gradually graduate
to the formal sector," Thabethe said at the start of a two-day Women Economic
Empowerment Conference in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal province on Thursday.
"More importantly, we need an economic development agency for women. A fully
fledged structure for servicing the economic needs of women," she said.
She said that businesswomen who were operating in the informal sector were still
facing challenges in accessing resources and funding in the running of their
This is despite the fact that South Africa has proven itself to be a pioneer in the
emancipation of women on the global scale, Thabethe said.
"Women today own enterprises and are active participants in the economy. We have
more women playing leadership roles across various sectors and making inroads in
various fields of the economy."
Women, however, still struggle with entry into sectors and opportunities that were
previously targeted at men.
"We still have many women operating in the informal sector where they struggle to
access resources such as finance, infrastructure and ease of running businesses,"
The conference was aimed at taking stock of the strides made in ensuring the
meaningful participation of women in the economy of KwaZulu-Natal and the country
as a whole and to encourage women to participate in sectors that are mainly male-
It was also aimed at creating a platform where women can exchange information
with industry leaders, as well as deal with challenges faced by women in