The African National Congress joins the men and women of South African in commemorating the National Women’s Day. This day affords us an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the significant role that women have played in the South African struggle for liberation and development Today, we have women representation across all sectors of society. Today, we celebrate women providing leadership in various fields including education, health, science, technology, aviation, business, public service, media and across civil society formations.
This day is a hard won victory for South Africa and for the many women who sacrificed their lives and fought against the subjugation of women. As we celebrate the huge strides that have been made, we must recognize the challenges that women continue to face including patriarchy, sexism, violence and many forms of discrimination.
So as we use today as an opportunity to reflect on strides we have made as a nation to advance women struggles, but it equally affords us an opportunity to look at what needs to be done to protect and empower women going forward.
As declared in the 2017 January 8th Statement “The ANC will actively work to improve women’s access to economic opportunities and, in particular, business financing and credit so that women can pursue business opportunities in all areas”. It remains a collective responsibility to ensure that women of this country, and beyond, are equally represented in the economy and receive equal pay.
The year 2017 has been a difficult year for South Africans. We have witnessed brutal killings of women and children. As a country, we need to redouble our efforts and ensure that women are not exposed to any form of harassment and discrimination.
As per the directive of the National Executive Committee meeting, held in May 2017, we must affirm the freedom of women and engage in campaigns that involve communities in the prevention of femicide and rape. We have full confidence in the justice system that they will do what is necessary to deal with gender based violence.
The African National Congress calls on all South Africans to mark this day be rededicating themselves to the realization of the vision of those gallant women of 1956 who sought a country where they had equal opportunities, felt safe and had the freedom to contribute as equals in our country’s development.