In South Africa, August is not just another month.
It is Women’s Month with 9 August celebrated as National Women’s Day, which is also a public holiday. This year also marks the build up to the 60th anniversary of the Women’s March.
On 9 August 1956, 20 000 brave women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to fight for their freedom and to petition against the country’s pass laws. These laws required black people to carry an internal passport, known as a pass.
The pass document was used to maintain population segregation and control urbanisation during the apartheid years.
The march was coordinated by the Federation of South African Women (Fedsaw) led by four women: Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Sophia Williams De Bruyn.
The risks taken by these brave women have led to change and progress among the women of today.
Today, the Constitution recognises women as equal citizens, with equal rights and responsibilities.
The South African Government has made progress in empowering women in the political, public and educational spheres.
As a country we celebrate not only the historic, heroic women of South Africa but also the women of the current generation who are out and about opening doors for future young women to continue with the struggle to empower, liberate and educate one another.
Recently South Africa hosted the 25th African Union (AU) Summit where AU Ministers Responsible for Gender and Women’s Affairs held the 2nd AU High Level Panel on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
The outcome of the meetings, held under the theme “Make it Happen Through the Financial Inclusion of Women in the Agribusiness Sector”, was a declaration and a call for action regarding the financial inclusion in agribusiness.
The meetings called for, among others, the implementation of women’s right to access, control, ownership and benefit from financial resources, including access to public procurement processes in education, information and skills development, innovative technologies and practices, to develop women’s economic empowerment in agribusiness.