Every year, for the month of August, South Africa celebrates women. Events are organized, merchandise is developed and beyond the specific day on the 9th that serves as the climax of the events, August is a month-long party with women at its center.
As the world continues to further recognize the Creative industries and the role of women in them, Women’s month is a wonderful opportunity to pause and reflect on how women-led enterprises have fared in the quest for growth. As custodians of culture, women have been at the forefront of creativity for centuries. Apart from their traditional roles as mothers, wives, and caregivers, statistics show that women are making great progress in business, politics, academic and economic careers with more and more women reaching top positions. This month is a chance to support women’s empowerment and also to recognize the skills, talents, and positive impact of women in the creative and other industries.
On the 9th of August 1956, 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings to fight back against an attempt at creating a system designed to limit and control women. The population registration act required ‘black’ South Africans to carry an internal pass designed to maintain segregation and control urbanization.
In the face of the extension of these laws, described as being designed to reduce women to passive beings, at the mercy of men, a massive women’s march was born. This landmark protest was spearheaded by members of the Federation of South African Women (FSAW) who rallied women to stand up against the oppressive apartheid government. The protest was supported by mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends who decided enough was enough and came together to initiate change.
Again in 1913, women in South Africa made giant strides towards creating a women’s movement in the country, through the establishment of the ANC women’s league. Women were strongly encouraged to add their voice to the nationalist fight for freedom.
The first National Women’s Day was celebrated and was made a holiday on 9 August 1995 in recognition of these and other acts of resistance displayed by South African Women in the face of injustice since before the 1940s.
Traditions on National Women’s Day are to celebrate women in every aspect of life. At home, the ladies go easy with chores and get a day off from cooking, cleaning, and making sure everything is immaculate. At work, the contributions of women are recognized and mini-celebrations are hosted by office teams. Inspiring women with success stories are in the spotlight, to set an example for other women to follow. On the social side, women party it up and head out to celebrate womanhood. Special deals are available for ladies at restaurants, cafes, and some stores even have sales. Female activists also utilize the day to promote gender equality and advance women’s rights.
Women’s month is an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on women’s achievements. It is an opportunity to salute all women for their contribution to the struggle for a nonracial and non-sexist South Africa, as well as the problems they have faced in the struggle to be free and the important role they continue to play in society.
Women are strongly encouraged to learn from other women who worked hard, failed but never gave up in achieving their goals in entrepreneurship, education, science, and any other sectors. It is another chance for women to get motivated, inspired and to unlock their own strength and determination to make a positive change in their family, community and country. This can be done in many ways, for instance through attending an awareness event, hosting a viewing party as the event is televised and reenactments are held every year, participating in a month-long program organized by various organizations and especially the one with a focus on women empowerment across the country.
The Ignite Women in Africa programme will feature weekly events during the month of August, for women in South Africa and beyond, the programme is built on the four pillars of motivation, growth, learning, and advocacy.
Program events will include a motivational keynote address designed to revive the spirits of women who may be demotivated with all the challenges 2021 has brought on. There would also be practical sessions including a boot camp and masterclass focused on issues including finance, investment, funding, Partnerships, and more.
To sign up to receive updates about women’s month activities, please register HERE.