Women’s rights are human rights

2013-03-10 10:00

On Friday, the world celebrated the economic, political and human rights achievements of women, while recognising the work ahead to eradicate the effects of millennia of patriarchy wherever these may be found.

South African women joined these celebrations and commemorations.

Once again, the list of laws and statistics proves how far we have come from being a racist and sexist society towards becoming a more inclusive one in which the voices and perspectives of women are in the mainstream.

What is undeniable is that great strides have been made towards creating a regime friendly towards women, their dignity, aspirations and safety.

But all of this has no meaning if it does not respond to the lived reality of women.

Violence against women and girls has become legion. The levels and extent of misogyny seem unending.

In the workplace, things are not any better.

This week, the Grant Thornton International Business Report on women showed that just over one quarter (28%) of top ­decision making roles in South African businesses are filled by women, and this has been the case since 2009.

It is trite to think of freedom as just about the opportunity to tick a box next to a name every few years.

The value of freedom and of rights is in them being accessible now.

Women’s rights and freedoms are human rights. None of us are totally free if some of us are still shackled by vestiges of the past.

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