DOD Gender Conference 2013
Article by Ms Lebo Mohapi, Intern of SA Soldier
13 August 2013 marked the first day of the annual three-day DOD Gender Conference that was held at SA Air Force Base Swartkop. This year’s theme was Promoting gender deliberations in order to find common ground in the DOD.
The conference was well attended by Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Dr Sam Gulube, the Secretary for Defence, Gen Solly Shoke, the Chief of the SANDF, Generals, Admirals and other distinguished members of the DOD.
Minister Mapisa-Nqakula in her opening statement said: “Essentially addressing the challenges of gender in the workplace should be seen as a task for the entire enterprise.”
The Minister touched on the imperative issues of women emancipation and empowerment within the DOD. She stated: “The DOD is still struggling to meet some of the representation targets of 40% at the entry level and 30% at higher levels as prescribed by DOD policy.” Other issues that were mentioned were structures and their impact on gender mainstreaming, peacetime activities, communication, gender mainstreaming and sexual harassment. These issues were considered for the next two days of the conference. Five groups deliberated on issues pertaining to the speeding up of gender transformation within the workplace. She advised that SANDF directors examine the structure and vehicles they established to deal with gender equality, including determining the effect and effectiveness of the previous conferences held to find solutions. She said: “It is not an issue only for women and certainly not one that should pop up on our radar only in August of every year.” In closing she said: “Let us be the change we want to see.”