‘You strike a woman, you strike a rock’ Women’s Month 2015

2015-08-05 06:00

FAR too many South Africans regard Women’s Day as just another good excuse to enjoy a long weekend, but the reason why 9 August is Women’s Day is of far greater importance and impact than that. While the march by thousands of women to the Union Buildings in 1956 to protest against the carrying of passes is the basis for celebrating 9 August, in actual fact women started to register their protest against their lack of rights long before that.

As long ago as 1913 in Bloemfontein, 5 000 signatures were gathered as women protested against permits required to prove “formal employment” each month. Then in 1930 in Potchefstroom women got together to protest against the issue of “lodger” permits.

In the mid-fifties the impetus grew as women throughout the country stood up for national liberation, emancipation and equal rights. This countrywide movement culminated in the march of nearly 20 000 women to the Union Buildings to present a petition demanding the withdrawal of the pass laws and equal rights for all. While waiting outside they sang the protest song – and the well-known saying “you strike a woman, you strike a rock” devolved from that song.

August is also Women’s Month – not only to emphasise the need for women to be given equal status and rights, but to emphasise the need for women, young and old, to be safe and protected from the high incidence of physical and mental abuse to which far too many are still subjected.

A fund-raising hike has been organised to raise funds for the unit to make sure that assaulted or abused victims are cared for

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