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Celebrating South African women

Written by Samona Murugan

Events and advice

South Africa celebrates Women's Month in August with a special focus on Women's Day on 9 August every year. On this day in 1956, women from all races and walks of life marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against oppressive apartheid laws. This marked a turning point in the role of women in the struggle for freedom and society at large.

This year, Women’s Day celebrates the 55th anniversary of the women’s march led by Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn.

Women’s Month is celebrated with activities that pay tribute to the important role of women in society. It is also an opportunity to focus on challenges regarding women’s empowerment and gender equality and for government departments to look at measures to address these challenges.

The theme for Women’s Month 2011 is “Working together to enhance women’s opportunities to economic empowerment”.

In this regard, the Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities is taking action to improve the lives of women and girls. This is based on the priorities identified by the department in line with government’s key national priorities and 12 outcomes.

These include job creation, decent work and sustainable livelihoods for women, funding mechanisms for increasing opportunities for women’s economic empowerment; education for women and girls; women’s health, especially the negative impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls; addressing the growing rate of gender-based violence; and rural women’s development, land reform and food security for women and girls.