South Africa celebrates Women’s Day

1956 march a victory for all South Africans

South Africa celebrated Women’s Day in commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the 1956 anti-pass march led by Lillian Ngoyi, Rahima Moosa, Helen Joseph and Sophie de Bruin.

Hundreds of women in Pretoria replicated the 1956 women’s anti-pass law march from the city centre to the Union Buildings. Led by Tshwane executive mayor Gwen Ramokgopa, the marchers paid tribute to the pioneers of women’s equality under the theme “Working together for equal opportunity and progress for women”.

Ramokgopa encouraged women to follow in the footsteps of the 1956 marchers and said they needed to be involved in relevant initiatives. She called the march a “day of victory for women”.

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Helen Zille: Women’s Day statement

Today we pay tribute to the women of South Africa. They are the daughters and granddaughters of the women of 1956 who had the courage to stand up for themselves, and each other, as many South African women have done — before and since.

Over half a century later, on Women’s Day, we have an opportunity to assess our progress in expanding opportunities for women. There is cause for some celebration, but much needs do be done.

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South Africa to act on workplace gender equity

President Jacob Zuma has called for action to address transformation in South Africa’s workplace, saying the country is not achieving the kind of gender parity required by its democratic rule.

Addressing a packed Women’s Day event at East London’s Absa Stadium on Monday, Zuma pointed to a recent employment equity report, compiled by the Department of Labour, which found that transformation in the workplace, particularly in the private sector, was slow.

Unless something was done urgently, he said, South Africa would struggle to achieve its set targets of workforce gender balance.

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Winnie lashes ANC and its failed policies

In an interview Winnie Madikizela-Mandela lashed out at the African National Congress (ANC) for failing to implement its own policies, especially those that impact women.

“It is time for the ANC to go back to the drawing-board and to assess how it will realistically implement policies,” Madikizela-Mandela said in the article.

The National Executive Committee member said the ANC should be giving themselves a better reflection after 16 years in government.

She said the party needed to revisit their strategies and tactics in the upcoming national general council meeting in September, by getting concrete suggestions from ministries as to how they would deliver on their promises.

Madikizela-Mandela passed judgement on the country’s record of gender empowerment saying that Lilian Ngoyi, a women’s liberation icon, would be turning in her grave.

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Women still suffer alone

Women’s Day, along with the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women, is rapidly becoming a special little female ghetto.

It’s time to put sexual violence on the public media Increasingly, these are the only two occasions during the year when some brief discussion around the status of South African women becomes possible.

Otherwise, the political space is largely taken up with men’s battles to be the Big Boss, dodgy tenders and kickbacks, nationalisation debates and general rudeness and incivility.

These are all important – even occasionally entertaining – issues but they push sexual violence right off the public agenda.

For rape is not the individual tragedy of the woman or child concerned, but a matter of serious political concern. Consider the role of the state in the following:

Last year a study by the Medical Research Council (MRC) revealed that one in four men was willing to admit to a researcher that they had raped at least once (and some more often).

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