Women’s Day, part of Women’s Month, is a national holiday here in South Africa. We decided to take a moment this year to reflect on what Women’s Day means to us and where we are seeing meaningful change in our community.
For those internationals who might have stumbled across this post, National Women’s Day in South Africa commemorates the march of approximately 20,000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on August 9 in 1956. Those 20,000 souls of different race and colour were petitioning against the country’s “pass laws” that required “black” South Africans to carry an internal passport, known as a pass, that served to manage migrant labour, maintain population segregation, and control urbanization during the apartheid era. The first Women’s Day was celebrated in 1994.
Given the recent #thetotalshutdown activities of women marching against gender-based violence however – due to the huge rates of violence against women and girls in South Africa – there is clearly a lot more work to do before our society is fully fair, equal, and safe for all and the women of South Africa are once again showing they will not tolerate things as they are now.
Everyone has taken something a little different out of reflecting on Women’s Day, but a central theme in all of our thoughts is that while we’ve made great strides towards equality and are thankful to those who have sacrificed so much in the past, there’s so much more to do!
Here’s what a few of our team members said when asked “what does ‘Women’s Day’ mean to you?”
Granny Mananya, Hub Mom
“The way we involve ourselves in our neighborhood, school and other activities, affirming a sense of community in an increasingly insular society. (I’m) proud of what we’ve achieved. I believe the achievement of those who went before us have inspired us to unlock our own strength and motivated us to make a difference in our family, community, and country.”
Lizette Watts, Community Catalyst
“Taking the time to reflect and celebrate the trailblazing females of the past and present but also to remain steadfast in taking up the challenges that still face us daily in our fight for gender equality and women’s rights.”
Iviwe Rwayi, Operations Coordinator
“It’s a day to stop and reflect on all the sacrifices the women of 1956 made in order for us to be free and partake in the political and economic activities in our country.”
Lana Lovasic, Co-founder
“It’s about supporting the amazing women I know and taking that extra time to check in. It is also about finding ways we can better support female-led networks, businesses and other initiatives. It’s also interesting that methods, such as Design Thinking, which really rely on collaboration and empathy (which women are socialised to excel at!) are gaining such recognition. This shows me women are getting stronger in management spaces.”