31st May, 2019
President of the United Nations General Assembly (PGA), Ms María Espinosa, has applauded South Africa’s first “gender-parity’’ cabinet announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday.
Espinosa gave the commendation in a tweet following Ramaphosa’s announcement of the new cabinet in which, for the first time in the country’s history, 50 per cent of all ministers are women.
She described the decision as a “strong example of an inclusive leadership style which will bear fruits not only for South Africa but for the entire region’’.
According to the BBC, Ramaphosa reduced the number of ministers in what he called a “bloated” cabinet from 36 to 28.
In another surprise move, one of the 14 female ministers identified as Patricia de Lille is a member of the opposition Good Party.
Later during a news briefing at the UN headquarters in New York, the PGA’s spokesperson, Ms Monica Gravley, quoted her as urging other member states to take a cue from South Africa.
Gravley said, “The PGA reiterates that the participation of women in decision-making processes, as well as in leadership roles, makes a real difference to societies, countries and the world.
“ Ms. Espinosa expects that more and more member states will continue to support and promote gender equality goals as a fundamental step to advance sustainable development and the 2030 Agenda.’’