Women's Month

2008-08-30 00:00

While it has become customary to focus for one day in the year on one or other segment of the population, with a Youth Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and so on, this year women’s issues have been allotted the full month of August.

Until such time as complete gender equality becomes a reality, it is appropriate to reflect on the progress being made towards the ideal situation. And considerable progress has indeed been made, although patriarchal traditions still hold sway and the “glass ceiling” that thwarts women’s aspirations is still in place in many occupations. With important challenges still to be addressed, Women’s Month culminates this weekend in a number of events that have an admirably assertive character.

Women in the ministry in Pietermaritzburg, launching with a march a new group called

Sisters of Faith in Action (Sofia), are reminding the church of its role and society as a whole of the political and social backlog yet to be redressed. And in Durban a mass rally labelled the Wonderful Women’s Gathering will remember the women’s march on the Union Buildings in 1956 and remind itself of the current struggle against poverty.

Whatever the specific reason for these and other meetings, they represent enthusiasm and initiative. Caring, progressive societies depend on voluntary organisations for positive ends. And as the South African tradition tells us, if you strike a woman you strike a rock.

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