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Are Women’s Month Celebrations A Waste of Time?

Celebrating feels a lil like an annual gimmick now...

BY Naledi K

Aug 18, 2021, 02:10 PM

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There is no doubt that the women who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956 are iconic and that as intended when August 9 was made a public holiday in honour of those women and many unsung heroes like them, it was absolutely fitting. That said, the generation of women that followed in the footsteps of the many great women of that era, have been stuck between a rock and a hard place since forever. Stuck between celebrating past victories and the mounting unresolved issues they live with daily.

We find ourselves in a sticky spot, where celebrating women’s month in SA feels like a betrayal to women.

These days, it feels like you are undermining yourself and almost treating yourself like a joke when you celebrate women’s month and the usual chats it usually brings up. 
"Something about celebrating the one out of ten victories, especially in comparison to the gender-based violence stats, the lack of equal pay for females in the workplace and the sheer disrespect women deal with every single day just seems off."
Women all over the world - and particularly in South Africa - go through a lot. All you need to do is check out the highest rape and femicide statistics in the world to know that South African women are living in constant and ever-present fear. And that fear is just a part of the broader picture because even though women are the head of most households and a lot of them single mothers, they still get paid less than men in positions where they are equally qualified.

We haven’t spoken about things like sexual harassment in the workplace or pure exploitation women are often faced within male-dominated industries.

It gets tricky because women in South Africa win against the odds every day and so there is in fact cause for celebration. Even in the hardened environments women often find themselves, they still innovate and find new ways to shock the world with their skills, talents, capabilities, ideas and so much more.

Women in this country still find ways to thrive no matter the chaos around them. They fight for the lives they deserve daily - getting educated, opening businesses and climbing up that corporate ladder even when they’ve been given a torn-up rope ladder to work with. However, more and more, women are drawing their boundary lines. 
"While the 1956 women made the phrase “Wa thinta abafazi wathinta imboko” (you strike a woman, you strike a rock) famous, women today are vocalising their desire to not have to put up with the “strong women” facade."
Women just want to live and part of the reason why many are finding it hard to celebrate women’s month is that it really shouldn't be as hard as it is to just live.

Here are 10 reasons some women are sitting out the celebrations this women’s month- as shared on different platforms by various women of different backgrounds.

  1. Women and the issues that affect them should be at the top of the agenda every day.
  2. As long as #AmINext exist, I am not safe enough to celebrate anything
  3. Will celebrating the month get me equal pay?
  4. Nothing has changed, so what exactly am I celebrating?
  5. Will September mean, back to default settings where we continue to live in a man’s world?
  6. Why are we still celebrating “first women to do this or that” shouldn’t we be knocking on doors that refuse to open for women?
  7. I simply refuse to celebrate “how much of a rock I am”... because I am actually not a rock but a woman, with a breaking point.
  8. Imagine celebrating women’s month by asking women to give “free talks” at your money-making seminars…
  9. I will celebrate when I feel like my government prioritises my needs
  10. Halala to the 1956 iconic women, we are still at war…No need for the usual lip service, we’ve got work to do.

What reason do you have to celebrate women’s month this year?

Read: Women remain superstars in everything they do