ZULULAND district mayor Zanele Magwaza-Msibi has urged women, especially widows and the disabled, to get out of their "self-pity" and start making use of opportunities presented to them by her municipality.
Magwaza-Msibi was addressing hundreds of widows, orphans and people living with disabilities in Lindizwe Stadium, Nongoma on Saturday.
She said her municipality had put aside R1,6million to assist those affected by poverty.
The money would be distributed in all 81 wards in the Zululand district.
"Democracy has brought about changes in our constitution, which enshrines the equality of all people, regardless of their gender.
"This has increased our resolve to fight the injustices of the past, which left women and children vulnerable and their rights infringed on.
"The government has passed laws such as affirmative action and employment equity to put women on par with men," she said.
Magwaza-Msibi said though a lot had been done to uplift women, especially those from rural areas, much more remained to be done.
"We still have a long way to go to fight poverty, unemployment, a lack of service delivery and development, especially in terms of women.
"This is why as a district we encourage people to be self-reliant so that they can positively fight against these challenges and play a meaningful role in the economy," she said.