The ANC’s commitment to gender equality and the advancement of women has changed the way South African women live.
In 1964 Chairman Mao delivered a seminal statement supporting the people of the Congo against U.S. Aggression. Daring them to struggle and daring them to win, the Chinese leader had this to say, “people of the world, unite and defeat the US aggressors and their running dogs. People of the world, be courageous and dare to fight, defy difficulties and advance wave upon wave. Then the whole world will belong to the people. Monsters of all kinds shall be destroyed.”
Thirty years later, on the 27 April 1994, the women of South Africa would become living proof of the immense advances they would achieve, wave upon wave, when united and the heroic struggle they had waged against oppression on the basis of class, gender and race would be realised.
The ANC government’s myriad of policies, programmes and campaigns to promote gender equality, bolstered by the Bill of Rights, have set out to destroy the monsters of an entrenched patriarchal normative society and deal with the very real challenges facing South African women.
Today, South Africa today stands tall as one of the leading countries on the continent and in the world in the advancement of women and gender equality. Under the ANC government more girls are in school and tertiary institutions than ever before, and more women are employed.
We have attained the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) of universal primary education and gender equality among others, and have overall eliminated gender disparity in primary school enrolments.
Our Constitution has made South Africa a country where young women, and young black women in particular- can Dare to Dream.
Thanks to the policies of the ANC, today more than ever the girl child can realize her dream of climbing the corporate ladder, starting a business, exploring intrepid new worlds and stretching beyond that had also been the sole preserve of men in a male dominated society.
As we prepare to go to the polls in municipal elections today– the ANC is only political party in South Africa that mandates 50/50 gender representation on our candidate lists. Once again celebrating and advancing the right for the legitimate voice of the women of South Africa to be heard.
It is thanks to the policies of the ANC that more women, and young women in particular, enjoy the very fundamental right of control of their own bodies and the right to make informed choices on their reproductive health.
Through one of the most comprehensive social welfare nets in the world introduced by the ANC government, millions of indigent women, many of them young women, continue to receive support to enable them to feed their families.
As we witness a resurgence of youth-led activism around the world, as epitomized by #RhodesMustFall to #FeesMustFall to even more recently, to #RespekTheDoek – young people, including young women, are taking charge of their destinies to build the society they envision.
The ANC’s Local Government Elections Manifesto 2016 is titled “Together Advancing People’s Power in every Community”. It calls upon South Africans in general to sustain our hard won freedoms by “being courageous, daring to fight and defying difficulties”.
This perhaps is an even greater struggle than the struggle for freedom and liberation itself. As we go to the polls in August, the ANC retains the utmost confidence that the young people of South Africa will choose to use their vote wisely, and not be swayed by grandstanding, empty promises and populist positions.
Advancing people’s power is a call for us to continue being instruments for change. The ANC remains the political home for South Africans committed to social justice, and the constitutional principles of equality and non-discrimination.
KHUSELA SANGONI IS THE ANC NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER AND A MEMBER OF THE ANC GAUTENG PROVINCIAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE