Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe has told women in South Africa that equality between men and women was a human right matter that had to be taken seriously.
The DPM described women as better administrators whom the world could not do without.
Officially opening the 35th World Congress of the International Alliance of Women in Johannesburg on Tuesday, DPM Khupe said legislation that empowers women should be put in place to enable women to enjoy their freedom.
Khupe said it was time for women to stand up and be counted in decision-making and to take key positions in society.
“The time has come for us to move away from the corner and come to the centre which is where the game plan begins and where everything happens,” said Khupe.
“Let us hold our hands together as women for one woman’s push cannot move the mountain but many women’s push can move the mountain. Gone are the days when women were walking behind men. They should start walking in front.
“As women we are workers, organisers, managers, advisers and more importantly nation builders. One woman can make a difference but many women can change the world.” Khupe described women as good organisers in all structures of society including politics where she said they were champions of strategy.
“Women are organisers at their workplace and are good at organising elections and mobilising people to go and vote. They are the majority of voters, meaning they are the ones who elect people to positions of authority,” she said.
Khupe gave an example of Sirleaf Johnson, the Liberian President who took the ruined to recovery.
“After she took over, there was enormous transformation in Liberia. For the first time the city had lights which they had not had for years. That is how powerful women are. If you look at any company run by a woman, the company grows because of management skills demonstrated by the woman,” she said.
“A nation without women is as good as no nation at all. A world without women is as good as no world at all,” Khupe said.
The official opening was attended by participants from 35 countries across Africa, America, Asia, Europe, Israel and the Pacific.