KZN Premier has a duty to change perceptions about women

Hlanganani Gumbi, MPL

Democratic Alliance

At the recent KZN Provincial Legislature Women’s Sectoral Parliament it was evident that while a number of important strides have been made in the advancement of women, much prejudice remains which continues to limit their progress – the recent sterilisation issue, which the DA categorically condemns, is a case in point.

It was therefore extremely disappointing to witness KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu lead his cabinet in defending this unfortunate prejudicial view. Addressing hundreds of women who, every day, suffer from all sorts of discrimination, the Premier used the opportunity to reinforce the kind of patriarchal and discriminatory views that our province needs to get rid of.  Even more concerning was the show of solidarity by the cabinet, who lined up in front of everyone forcing them to clap and accept these views and not giving them any opportunity to challenge these entrenched ideals.

What KZN’s cabinet does not understand is that, as leaders, the views they hold regarding the true empowerment of women encourages society to also adopt those same views – one that says woman should be told what they can and can’t do, one that reinforces the concept that women are incapable of being responsible for their own behaviour and one that says that men should be treated differently because they are men, and that they are more equal than woman.

Premier Mchunu and his cabinet colleagues are in positions of incredible influence.  This influence comes with great responsibility – a duty to change society so that it is a more just and equal environment, one where prejudices in any shape or form are a thing of the past.