Numsa and the struggle for gender equality

Numsa recently held a very big and successful national gender conference at the Vincent Mabuyakhulu Conference Centre on October 6-9 2011.

The Numsa central committee, which was held in August 2011, took a decision that the union should convene a gender conference with the objective of charting a way forward on issues such as gender ideology and politics, and issues facing women in the workplace, at home and in society.

The conference was well attended, with delegates from all regions and locals, and the participation and debates were passionate and strong.

It was exciting that most of the attendees were young people, with a large number of men.

This is a way forward to do away with the stereotype that gender is only about women and their issues.

Where Numsa comes from with gender
‘’In 1981, OR Tambo, the then-president of the ANC, addressed an ANC Women’s League conference and identified the problem of gender inequality’’, said the Numsa deputy general secretary Karl Cloete at the conference.

He further said: ‘’The struggle to conquer oppression in our country is the weaker for the traditionalist, conservative and primitive restraints imposed on women by the male-dominated structures within our movement; it is also because of equally traditionalist attitudes of surrender and submission on part of the women.’’

When Numsa was formed in 1987, we adopted a very progressive and revolutionary constitution that remains a shining light, showing us the direction in all aspects of a worker’s life in this capitalist society.

Cloete called on all metalworkers that identify with the principles and aims of Numsa to join metalworkers and set aside any prejudices they may have and to strive for unity under the guiding slogan of the international working class – ‘’from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.’’

The conference produced the following results:

• A clear programme and a plan of action to take gender struggles to a higher plane;

• A Numsa position paper setting out the ideological framework to guide the fight for gender equality, taking into account culture, religion, capitalist exploitation, feminism and so on; and

• How the structure will be coordinated at national and regional level.

This includes the leadership of gender structures at local, regional and national level.


Numsa News No 1, April 2012