SA to commemorate Women's Day

Friday, August 7, 2009

Pretoria - South Africans from all walks of life will on 9 August celebrate and commemorate the struggle of women for a free, non-racial and non-sexist country.

It was this time 53 years ago that women from around the country were preparing to embark on a march to the Union Buildings to protest against the pass laws. To honour the women that were part of the march on that day, government declared 9 August a public holiday in 1994.

A number of activities have been lined up for this year's Women's Day celebration with the main event to take place at the BhekuZulu Sports Ground in Vryheid, northern KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday ahead of Women's Day.

President Jacob Zuma will address the nation at the event following the address by Provincial Premier Zweli Mkhize, Minister for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya and Minister of Arts and Culture Lulu Xingwana.

The theme for this year's Women's Day is "Together Empowering Women for Development and Gender Equality". 

South Africa has made large strides in advancing the course of developing women in the country, including the establishment of the Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, which consolidates government programmes to continue the development of women in the country.

The Women's Empowerment Fund and the Employment Equity Act continue to ensure the appointment and support for women in top leadership positions in government and the private sector.

Through interventions such as the rural and local economic development programmes and social safety systems, South Africa continues to reduce the burden of women-headed households who bare the brunt of poverty. 

Another initiative is the Kha ri Gude literacy campaign, which aims to build functional literacy among the marginalised adults including women. 

During the Women's Month government will strengthen its partnerships in the 365 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign. 

A new coordinating and management structure for the criminal justice system is set to heighten interventions that protect the women and children from abuse.

The re-establishment of Sexual Offences and Child Protection units of the South African Police Services will reinforce efforts to prevent and respond to crimes against women and children.

The second phase of the Expanded Public Works Programme, launched in April, is also set to increase the number of women beneficiaries in various aspects. 

Minister Mayende-Sibiya said to sustain the momentum in observing Women's Month throughout August, there was a need to focus on various government priorities as far as they relate to women.

"This includes economic transformation and gender equality, job creation, access to quality health care and education, crime prevention and response as well as rural development," she said.