National Women’s Day is an annual public holiday in South Africa celebrated on 09 August. This day commemorates the day that 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria in 1956 to protest against the pass laws and other oppressive laws that served to maintain population segregation, urbanisation, and manage migrant labour during the apartheid era. This year is celebrated under the theme, 20 years Freedom: Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment.
These women embodied defiance and in their own manner showed the country and the world the extent of female strength and resilience. We commemorate those of the past and remind South Africans that there’s still plenty to be done in the realm of women’s rights at present. While celebrating the achievements we should take into account new challenges experienced by women in this juncture, issues of sexual harassment, gender based violence, gender equality and underline the lack of compassion faced by the marginalised communities including the disabled and children.
Based on these factors it the responsibility of every NEHAWU member to assist in shaping our communities and harness our political will to ensure that Human Rights objectives with regard to women rights are realised by all.
While celebrating let’s also remember the women who are robbed of their plight to be caring mothers through the abduction of their children. We celebrate at a crucial time when the Nigerian women are crying for the safe return of the 219 school girls that are being held captive by Boko Haram. We must use this month to bring back a sense of understanding that kidnapping women is violence against women and will not be tolerated.
Women have been at the forefront of the struggle and have made an invaluable contribution in the liberating our country.