Men and Gender Equality
The four Nordic Embassies in Pretoria (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) hosted a seminar on 8 December to highlight the 16 Days of Activism campaign to stop gender based violence.
Pictured (l-r) Dr Mathews Phosa, Ambassador Trine Skymoen of Norway, Steinar Alsos, Dumisani Rebombo, Pule Goqo, Ambassador Cecilia Julin of Sweden, Ambassdor Kari Alanko of Finland, Ambassdor Trine Thygesen of Denmark and Wallace Mgoqi. Photo: twitter.com/DKAMBinSA
The key note address was delivered by Dr Mathews Phosa Mathews, a South African attorney and politician and he was also an anti-apartheid activist. Dr Phosa outlined statistics on Gender Equality in the Nordics and South Africa. The economic gender gap in South Africa, he said, was reduced to levels last seen in 2008. The high unemployment level in South Africa is also a contributing factor. He said that gender attitudes should be addressed by schools, media, churches, in the workplace, and not only in December.
Dr Phosa emphasized that in South Africa the role of the male was reduced by colonialism and immediately after that by apartheid.
The men in South Africa need to heal and as a nation we need to see what support is needed for this healing.
The all male panel consisted of Wallace Mgoqi, Pule Goqo, Dumisani Rebombo and Steinar Alsos and was moderated by Aurelie Kalenga.
Issues that were raised during the discussions ranged from unemployment, inequality, feelings of inadequacy, funding or the lack thereof, religion, implemention of laws to unconcious bias, the role of the family in a stable society, masculinity and education.
It was evident from the discussion that issues regarding gender in South Africa has made progress. But when compared to the Nordic countries, the work needs to continue.