Gender parity in Gauteng district municipalities: the influence on female organisational commitment
Due to South Africa's history, many individuals, mostly women, are disenfranchised and marginalised. Stereotyping, patriarchy, bias, and inequality are deeply entrenched in our society and cultures. Despite remedial and preventative legislation, women in South Africa are the gender most likely to experience discrimination. Government plays an active role in creating a better life for all residents of the country. South Africa has a three-tier system of governance, namely national, provincial, and local (municipal). Local government is the level of government closest to and has the biggest impact on the lives of its citizens. “We belong, we care, we serve", the Batho Pele slogan, summarises the vision government has for service delivery. Gauteng suffered from service delivery protests that disrupted the lives of many of its residents. Angry residents took to the streets to voice their anger and despair. These actions highlight the problems municipalities face in respect of service delivery. Women, with their unique skill set, can ensure balanced decision making and contribute to an alternative perspective on developmental issues. Due to women's marginalisation, their input is not recognised, affecting service delivery adversely. The lack of diversity in local government could contribute to the service delivery issues faced. A municipality's workforce is its biggest asset in service delivery, and it is essential for employees to identify with the objectives of the municipality to ensure service delivery. Organisational commitment results in a productive, creative, and powerful labour force. Integrating women into decision structures will support efficient and effective decision making, leading to improved service delivery. This is especially important at municipal level as the perception persists that service delivery is lacking. This study aims to evaluate the effect of gender parity on the organisational commitment of women in Gauteng district municipalities. Ten permanently employed females from municipalities were interviewed to explore their lived experiences of gender relationships, also to evaluate the effect gender parity/disparity has on the components of organisational commitment. The results indicated that women, although partaking in positive gender relations, are profoundly affected by discriminatory practices in the workplace. These practices prevent affective commitment, the most beneficial form of commitment, with municipal performance suffering adversely as a result. Recommendations were made towards ensuring gender parity and for future research.