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03. November 2011

Minister Dlamini-Zuma visits Berlin

Berlin, 2 November 2011. Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Minister of Home Affairs in the Republic of South Africa, undertook a courtesy call to Parliamentary State Secretary Dr Ole Schröder of the Interior Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany, during her visit to Berlin.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma was in Berlin to deliver a keynote speech as the Guest of Honour at the Caroline von Humboldt Award Ceremony at the Humboldt University. The Prize carries a value of 15.000 Euros and was awarded for the second time. This year it went to physicist, Dr Constanza Toninelli for her research on “Organic Molecules in Disordered Photonic Structures: from co-operative effects in mesoscopic ensembles to a random quantum network”. The introduction of molecular nanophotonics as a novel research field will reshape the research landscape in this field and will add to the existing body of knowledge.

In her speech, Minister Dlamini-Zuma emphasised the importance of gender equality, stating that “It seems that despite some advances in the emancipation of women, males and females continue to interact in a social context that is essentially skewed towards a masculine paradigm.  Patriarchy has become so entrenched we are no longer even aware of it.  Although it is very difficult to defeat this, we must keep going and indeed, it will be a long journey.” 

The Minister also honoured all the women who have fought for women´s rights and highlighted that women nowadays have to fulfill various roles: “Today women need not be restricted in their achievements merely for having been born female.  We owe this to the many women who have come before us, fighting for empowerment, equality and emancipation.  We often have to work harder than our male counterparts while also fulfilling our traditional roles as mothers, caregivers, wives and housekeepers.  Even today, there are countries where females do not earn the same salaries as male employees, even when they do the same jobs.  This phenomenon exists not only in the developing but also in some developed countries.” This is also true for Germany where even though the Chancellor is a woman, women earn on average 23% less than their male counterparts.

The Minister´s speech captured many hopeful aspects and emphasised that South Africa is a forerunner in gender equality with its very modern Constitution stating that “I am certain many of you are familiar with the African Union (AU) commitment to achieve gender parity by 2020.  South Africa is however committed to achieving this by 2015.  It is my firm conviction that when women find themselves in positions of leadership they should strive not merely to maintain the status quo in a man’s world, but rather to change this man’s world into a human world.”

(This document is available in English only)

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