The current global financial crisis will have harmful effects on the well-being of women and children, Minister in the Presidency Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has said.
It was widely acknowledged that economic inequality was a cause of violence against women and children, she told a Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) seminar in Pretoria yesterday.
She said economic trendscreated or exacerbated the enabling conditions for violence.
"Women's poverty and economic inequalities, concomitant with the discrimination and gender inequalities they face, reduce women's capacity to act and take informed and considered decisions."
She said this also correlated with their increased vulnerability to harmful traditional practices.
"This [economic crisis] will impact negatively in the sense that it will increase their vulnerability to acts such as abductions, forced and early marriages, trafficking in women and girls for sexual and economic exploitation, among others," she said.
She said harmful traditional practices were recognised as the manifestation of gender inequality and this was deeply entrenched and rooted in social, economic and political structures and practices.
Research - undertaken in conjunction with the Austrian government under the auspices of Cedaw - needed to consider the geographical locations of the various harmful practices as well as the poverty levels. - Sapa