Sat 29 October 2016 | -- (permalink)
ANC STATEMENT ON THE OCCASION OF NATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY The African National Congress (ANC) congratulates all the women of South Africa on the occasion of National Women’s Day. This day is a time for both reflection on and celebration of the gains made by women in our young democracy.
This day also marks the 60th anniversary of the historic Women’s March to the Union Buildings by more than 20 000 women to protest against the pass laws of the apartheid government. The occasion has been marked by the unveiling of statues in the city of Tshwane of the leaders of the march, as well as an address by President Jacob Zuma. Thousands of women have converged on the laws of the Union Buildings to recreate the march, many of them travelling long distances from other parts of the country. It was the dedication and tenacity of these women pioneers that forged the way for South Africa to become a society founded on the principles of equality and non-sexism. It was because of these brave women that today South African women occupy a multiplicity of roles: not just as wives and mothers, but as teachers, entrepreneurs, businesswomen, politicians, community workers, activists, church leaders and active members of society. The women who marched on the Union Buildings in 1956 knew, that in the words of VI Lenin: that “ “the emancipation of women and their equality with men is impossible and remains so as long as women are excluded from social production and restricted to domestic labour.” Today we can say proudly that thanks to the policies of the African National Congress (ANC) South Africa is a country where gender equality and gender representation is a fundamental tenet of governance. In August, Women’s Month, we celebrate the selflessness, resilience and heroism of the women who played a pivotal role in the liberation of our country. South African women today, especially our young women, have taken up the baton from the pioneers of the Women’s March. They are evidence that women of this country will continue to take a stand against any forms of oppression on the basis of gender. The ANC government has, since the dawn of democracy in 1994, made tremendous progress in ensuring women are able to take up their rightful place in the leadership of our country. We now live in a society that respects the enduring principles of freedom, equality, justice, human dignity and equal opportunities for all. Before 1994, only 2.7% of those in Parliament were women. This has changed considerably. Today 44% of our Parliament consists of women, and women make up 43% of Cabinet. Through our National Gender Machinery we have mainstreamed women’s issues throughout government planning to ensure that every single policy, decision or programme that is rolled out takes the needs, considerations and circumstances of women into account. The ANC government continues to work towards equity for women in all sectors of our economy, and is encouraged by efforts especially in state-owned enterprises. The ANC government continues to prioritize facilitating access to educational opportunities and support for young women, in our schooling system. It is the ANC government that is enabling young women to learn and take up opportunities for a better future. Women’s Month is also a time for reflection. We know that the mainstreaming of gender is imperative because it is women who are still the poorest in our country, and black rural women in particular. It is women who face triple oppression on the basis of race, class and gender. It is to women that we must direct the lion’s share of our efforts if we are to eradicate the social ills we still face as a country of poverty, discrimination, and disease.
The ANC, and the ANC Women’s’ League (ANCWL) in particular is making a huge contribution through the many struggles and victories we have attained. The lives of hundreds of thousands of women across the country have been transformed for the better.