The African National Congress in the Eastern Cape salutes women of the world on the occasion of the International Women`s Day today, 8 March 2018. We join the United Nations on the historic celebration that derives from successes that marked women activism the world over.
This year marks 107 years since the first organized Women`s Day demonstrations that were held and marks the 41st anniversary since the United Nations declared March 8 as International Women`s Day in 1977.
This day has a very profound history that needs to be preserved and honoured. In 1910, a second International Conference of Working women was held in Copenhagen. Clara Zetkin, Leader of the “Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day, a Women’s Day , to press for their demands.
The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women’s clubs adopted Zetkin’s suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women’s Day came about. Their major demand was that it was absolutely necessary to make parliament more democratic by extending the voting franchise to women.
We bow our heads to the progressive women of the world for having consistently fought to reclaim their position in society. It is as a result of many years of hard fought battles, some of whom claimed lives, that women have registered a number of victories.
The ANC pays tribute to the heroic women of South Africa who have taken their position alongside women of the world for relentless and consistent struggles. Most importantly our Province today launches the late Albertina Sisulu Centenary at her birthplace ( Tsomo) at the Intsika Yethu Municipality. This historic centenary celebration of Mama Sisulu is in recognition of the role she played in fighting for women’s rights and gender equity.
We are reminded of Mama Sisulu`s many sacrifices during the darkest days of apartheid. Arrests, detentions and bannings, were among many experiences she went through. Despite enduring hardship and State persecution under apartheid, with her late husband, Uncle Walter Sisulu jailed on Robben Island and her children in exile, Mama Sisulu became a tower of strength and an inspiration to the majority of South Africans.
The legacy of their struggle has ensured that society is more equal, fairer and women enjoy rights as citizens of the civilized world. It is as a result of these struggles that women are increasingly visible in the economy, governance and other spheres of leadership.
While we have much to celebrate today on the role that is played by women in the social, economic, cultural and political sphere, we also need to acknowledge that the scourge of women oppression and demon of patriarchy are yet to be conquered. It is disheartening that as we celebrate the noble cause of gender parity we are still confronted by the scourge of violent crimes against women and children.
Women still continue to be the face of poverty and the face of HIV and AIDS, especially black working class women. Socio-economic conditions and patriarchal attitudes that justify and perpetuate abuse of women are driving the staggeringly high rates of domestic violence and rape in South Africa. Women and girls are by far the most at risk and most affected by gender-based violence.
The historical objective of the ANC has been the creation of a non-sexist, non-racial, equal and democratic South Africa.
The ANC will spare neither strength nor effort in confronting and ultimately defeating this scourge. To this end we call on our communities and our men folk in particular to take a stand against the recurring violence and rape that seek to dehumanize women. The ANC believes that no one can be truly free unless our women are free. Similarly, no man can truly regard himself as a real man until he stands up and defends the rights of a woman.
The ANC Eastern Cape wishes all ANC women activists and indeed the women of the world and our province, “Happy International Women’s Day”
ANC EC Communications
ANC Media & Liaison Officer
Mobile No: 0636878267/0731176194
ANC EC Communications Manager