Everyone needs to play their part in eradicating Gender-Based Violence and Femicide

Everyone needs to play their part in eradicating Gender-Based Violence and Femicide

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) together with the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) Response Fund1 (the Fund) will today ‘Ring the Bell’ to mark the start of this year’s 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. The bell is customarily rung to indicate the start of trading on the JSE.

Announcing the Ring the Bell Against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide initiative, JSE’s Vuyo Lee says: “It is our responsibility as individuals and organisations to create safe public and workspaces for women and use every available platform to advocate for meaningful change. As citizens of Corporate South Africa, it is our duty to do all in our power and within our circles of influence to support those affected and to eradicate these heinous attacks.  The JSE stands together with all stakeholders including government and non-governmental organisations in the ongoing efforts to eradicate gender-based violence and femicide”.

Rates of gender-based violence and femicide in South Africa remain unacceptably high:

“Undoubtedly, GBVF is a systemic social issue that is deeply entrenched in institutions, cultures, and traditions with a tragic effect on all regardless of age, race, gender or sexual preference.  Corporate SA, in particular, has a vested interest because this plight not only presents workplace challenges such as reduced productivity and absenteeism, but also impacts the communities the companies operate in,” Lee explains.

Ringing the Bell will also usher a virtual panel discussion by leaders from the JSE, the Fund, Business Leadership South Africa, Business Against Crime, Business Unity South Africa and the British High Commission. The panel will discuss the role of corporate South Africa in the fight against gender-based violence and femicide and give companies a platform to provide an update on actions they have taken in the fight against this issue.

“I have every confidence that today’s conversations will be a catalyst to developing solutions for a brighter, safer and equal South Africa for all,” Lee adds.

“As the GBVF Response Fund1, we would like to thank the JSE leadership, Corporate South Africa, philanthropic organisations and the British High Commission for their support and commitment to the cause,” says Dr Judy Dlamini, Chairman of the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Response Fund1.

“To quote former President Nelson Mandela, ‘Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.  Our endeavours must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child.’ Until women are safe and their contribution to society and the economy is recognised equitably, we cannot prosper as a nation. We look forward to today’s deliberations and continued multistakeholder engagement and collaboration in the effort to eradicate GBVF and gender inequality.”

Lee adds: “Programmes such as the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children serves as a reminder for all of us to dedicate time and resources needed to empower women. The JSE has embedded this through GBVF policies, ongoing awareness campaigns, mandatory training modules and collaborations with Sonke Gender Justice, the International Women’s Forum of South Africa and the GBVF Response Fund1.”

The GBVF Response Fund1 was launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in February 2021 to support the implementation of the new National Strategic Plan on GBVF. The President declared GBVF as the ‘second pandemic’ and established the Fund to raise financial and non-financial resources and allocate them to high-impact organisations working to tackle the scourge. The Fund is a fully private sector-led initiative which is governed by a Board made up of eminent South Africans from the private, public and civil society sectors.