8 August 2013
Gender-based violence, poverty and joblessness are the three biggest challenges facing women, says Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko.
Speaking on behalf of Premier Nomvula Mokonyane at the launch of the Women’s Month programme in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Mazibuko said violence against women and children remained one of the key challenges for government.
“As much as a lot has been achieved since the dawn of democracy, things such as gender-based violence, poverty and unemployment continue to be a big problem for women,” she said.
The Gauteng provincial government also plans to use August to pay tribute to all women who were champions of women’s rights in 1956.
This year’s Women’s Month marks 57 years since the historic protest march – on 9 August 1956, some 20 000 women marched to the seat of government, the Union Buildings, to present a petition to the Prime Minister, J G Strijdom, against the carrying of passes by women.
‘Focus on women’s struggle heritage’
Mazibuko said during the month of August, the provincial government would also focus on women’s struggle heritage, economic empowerment of women through co-operatives and engaging women, especially young women, on the Gauteng they would like to see in 2055 through Vision 2055.
“As the provincial government, we have taken a special interest and focus on the education of the girl-child. We want to encourage young girls to stay away from sugar daddies and focus on their education,” she said.
“Young women must go to school in order to have a better life.”
Other MECs attending the event included the MEC for Social Development Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, MEC for Infrastructure Development Qedani Mahlangu and struggle stalwart Sophie de Bruyn.
It was attended by women of all colours and ages, a true model of that Thursday in August 1956.
The launch also saw the unveiling the women’s living heritage monument’s model. Phase 1 of the construction of the monument is currently under way.
“We are hoping the project would be completed by August 2014 and be ready for use,” Mahlangu said.
She said the monument would be a site of remembrance and reflection of the diversity of South African women.
“The monument will consist of a training facility, a recreational centre, arts and culture centre and early childhood centre, amongst other things,” she said.
“It is dedicated to the spirit of womanhood and humanity. This spirit helped overcome the world of divide and rule and gave birth to unity in diversity and hope.”