Sekhukhune - President Thabo Mbeki has appealed to the private sector to appoint more women to middle and top management positions.
The president told a Women's Day rally at Hlogotlou stadium, in the Sekhukhune district of Limpopo that some progress had been made towards the emancipation and empowerment of women in the public sector, but the situation in the private sector was not good.
He said in government most provinces had reached a representation of 30 percent by women in provincial cabinet and legislatures.
Mr Mbeki said he was also proud of the fact that the National Cabinet had reached a figure of 45 percent in respect to women representation.
"We must measure what progress we are making towards the emancipation of women so we can decide what to do next to improve our performance", he said.
"But we must not forget that the empowerment of women also means that we must free them from tasks such as having to walk long distances to fetch water and collect wood," Mr Mbeki added.
He also pointed out that women in business should also be given access to applications for large government tenders, as many of them had proved that their business skills were equal to those of men.
Mr Mbeki also paid tribute to the women of South Africa for the role they played in liberating the country.
"These heroines sacrificed their own lives so that we could be free", the president said.
Mr Mbeki also called on the nation to use August which has been declared the Women's Month to speed up the process of emancipation of women.
The theme for the Month is : "Women building a South Africa that truly belongs to all".
Today's rally, attended by almost ten thousand people, mostly women of all ages was characterised by colourful traditional dress, traditional and modern dances, choir items, poetry and drama presentations.
In his welcoming speech, Limpopo Premier Sello Moloto said the occasion provided an opportunity to reflect on the role played by women in advancing the struggle for freedom and democracy in the country.
"This gathering also serves to send out a clear message to society that women will never again occupy an inferior place in the country," Mr Moloto said.
By Dirk Nel - BuaNews