South Africa: SA commemorates Women’s Month

South Africa: SA commemorates Women’s Month

Date: July 18, 2011
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The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities has kicked off preparations for Women’s Month in August. South Africa annually sets aside this month to commemorate the aspirations and achievements of women.

The historical significance of 9 August, National Women’s Day, goes back to 1956 when 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest the extension of passes restricting freedom of movement during the apartheid government.

The women were led by the Federation of South African Women (Fedsaw) including four women: Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Sophia Williams De Bruyn.

Proposed commemorative events for 9 August 2011 intend to remind the country about women’s rights issues and will recall the struggle for women’s emancipation.

The Department, in collaboration with partners in government and the civil society, will be hosting activities throughout the country to commemorate women’s achievements.

A government concept note states: “It is also during this period that the country takes stock of the challenges that persist in attaining women’s empowerment and gender equality. It is therefore also the time when government departments identify necessary measures that need to be taken to address these challenges.”

Currently the Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities is embarking on several interventions to improve the lives of women and girls based on priorities identified in line with five key national priorities and the 12 national outcomes of government.

Some initiatives identified include job creation, decent work and sustainable livelihoods for women, education for women and girls; women’s health, especially decreasing maternal mortality and the negative impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls; addressing the growing scourge of gender-based violence; and rural women’s development, land reform and food security for women and girls.

The Department is currently formulating a strategy for rural women’s development intended to foster, accelerate and expedite the implementation of measures aimed at improving the lives of rural women. Whilst there is acknowledgement that the New Growth Path focuses on the poor and marginalised, who in most cases are African women and the disabled, there is a need to engender the New Growth Path.

The Department is coordinating the economic empowerment of women with key government departments, relevant stakeholders and development partners.


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