Women played an iconic role in the history of our country. South African history is filled with real female heroes who have championed the cause for equality and the eradication of discriminatory laws during the difficult years of apartheid.
They left an indelible mark on the political struggle for a democratic South Africa. The women who lived through the social oppression of those days, did not back down to the status quo. They demanded their voices be heard and they addressed injustice in the most valiant ways possible.
When we say “she is a woman”, there is a recognition of the power of the female voice and unique role women play in shaping society.
It is important now more than ever, for the voice of women to be heard in our nation. The inequality and poverty the majority of our nation live in, affects women the most.
Economic disparity has severely limited the freedom of women in our democratic South Africa. The pandemic of disease and violence affects women disproportionately.
The issue of equality remains critical in a society where broken families are becoming the norm, and more than 38% of households are women led.
Women’s Month should be a time to reflect on how far we have came in the pursuance of equality and justice for all, but it also needs to be a time to refocus our attention and redefine the path to building strong, healthy communities.
The fight is at the most basic level of how women live and the opportunities that are available for them to pursue advancement in order to attain economic freedom.
It is in recognizing how systemic failures at all levels have given rise to the brutal reality of Gender Based Violence.
26 Years after the dawn of our democracy, this country is among the most dangerous for women to live in, and raise her children in.
The Constitution of South Africa states that “everyone has the right to life”. Every day in South Africa that right is being violated, and women are being killed in a manner that resembles a war zone.
The abnormal has become normal and the tide is rising. The most critical issue we face is the right to live in safety for there is no dead person who can enjoy the fruits of equality and freedom.
This Women’s Month we must again revisit that moment in 1956 when 20 000 women of all races and class marched on the Union Building to hand over a petition to the then Prime Minister.
How do we celebrate women when the names of the slain are growing daily, and still today the female body is being exploited?
How do we celebrate women when she is forced to live in a shack and raise her children in fear? When she must sell herself in shame to protect her children against hunger?
There is a new breed of women that should revisit that moment in 1956 to say – how many times will you strike this rock?
We should do so in the same unified voice of the women who came before us, a voice that history teaches us, shall not be denied.
The ACDP this Women’s Month, calls for unity across political and racial divides to tackle the giants we face: Gender based Violence, Unemployment and Inequality.
We must make South Africa safe for women again!