The Motsepe Foundation Women’s Unit was created in 2012 to support the Foundation’s effort in achieving its core objective of alleviating poverty, and improving the lives of the rural and marginalised communities. It is based on the fact that development challenges such as poverty, health, education, climate change or access to productive resources all have gendered dimensions, and disproportionally affect women and girls more than they affect their male counterparts. Any intervention towards sustainable development and broadly-shared economic growth must confront gender- related issues. The Women’s Unit focuses on areas that are fundamental to women’s equality and improving their well-being both at policy and programme levels. The key programme areas that are implemented by Women’s Unit includes; education, in particular, STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), girls in sports (netball), and economic empowerment through gender responsive planning, programming and budgeting. The Unit also complements and provides synergy to the work of the Foundation, especially to mainstream gender considerations in the Foundation’s programmes and initiatives. These priorities are aligned within the broader strategy of the Motsepe Foundation.
Gender Responsive Budgeting Initiative 2012
The women’s unit embarked on a research initiative in order to understand how government policy of women economic empowerment is supported by budget allocation. The Foundation employed the services of an economist to do the disaggregate analysis of the budget allocation of 4 government departments, with a particular eye on how their budget allocation drove economic empowerment of women.
The Little Black Book, A Resource Guide For Women Across South Africa
Access to information (the quantity and quality of it) is perhaps one of the most effective ways of empowering women and girls, especially in rural areas where getting necessary or lifesaving information are limited, due to low levels of education, remoteness or geographic location. In response to this problem, the Women’s Unit published The Little Black Book, A Resource Guide For Women Across South Africa. It was developed to provide them with crucial information on health, education and economic empowerment, as well as social and legal know-how. Access to critical information will enable women to make informed decisions, to seek services that meet their needs, and in particular, to help women in cases of emergencies and direct them on where to seek help or assistance. Digitization of the book will be prioritised, which will expand access to information, especially in rural areas. It will also help them to access knowledge and information via their cell phones. It would mean for instance, that an expectant mother could receive pre-recorded messages from health workers on when to attend their prenatal check-ups or date of immunisation of their children. It could also mean provision of study material on business management or any other theme relevant for their development.