n Journal of Public Administration - Gender equality in the South African public service : ideal or reality?

Volume 49, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The South African Government has set gender equity targets for the inclusion of women in senior management services (SMS) in the public service. This article explores the extent to which the gender equity goal of 50% women in SMS level has advanced women's equality in the public service and in the household. The results show that it would be challenging for the South African Government to achieve its ambitious goal of 50% women in SMS within the foreseeable future. It reveals that women in SMS level are being empowered and developed professionally and technically. However, at management level they remain disadvantaged. In the primary sectors predominantly men are employed because there are not enough women to fill even half of the posts in those sectors. The article proposes that the South African Government would be able to reach its target provided enormous investment in education is made. Equal access to development opportunities should be afforded to both men and women. This would be possible provided the current leadership approach of the South African public service is replaced by a transformational leadership approach, which would transform the public service.

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