Worldwide, women continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement. In South Africa there are a few great women who come to mind for what they have achieved over the last few years. For me I immediately think of the beautiful Rolene Strauss who has done so much for the rights of women in South Africa and who used the platform as Miss World to bring attention to issues women face around the world.
(Photo credit: www.citizen.co.za)
Internationally Emma Watson has shown the world that being 25 does not mean you don’t take the world you live in seriously. In 2014 she was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and helped launch the UN Women campaign “HeForShe”, which calls for men to advocate gender equality.
(Photo credit: heforshe.org)
I then think about my own mom, grandmothers and sister who have each inspired me to show respect, have patience, support the men in their lives, the importance of faith and working hard.
And although we have much to celebrate today progress towards gender parity has slowed in many places. According to internationalwomensday.com The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.
With statistics like these it is scary to think that although we have come so far, there is much to be done to ensure that the mere fact that you are a girl or woman does not take away from your opportunities. Having worked in communities for many years and having sat down with teenage girls to talk about a variety of issues it is very clear that the only ones who can make the changes needed are us, each and every woman out there. We cannot wait for legislation, world forums and policy to change and let the fight be fought only on paper on our behalf, change needs to start with every woman reading this, no matter how small you feel. Be proud of who you are, make sure others know who you are and that irrespective of your gender you want to be recognised for your talents, experience and loyalty. Look to those around you that have held their heads high, that have inspired others and that want to initiate change. You are wonder women, don’t let anyone take that away from you!
In South Africa we have much to be grateful for as our constitution protects women and has upheld the values that others have died for. Sadly many millions of women around the world struggle to survive, are persecuted because of gender and are seen to be weak and less worthy.
Remember this on International Women’s Day:
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
To get involved you can visit http://www.internationalwomensday.com/PledgeForParityCampaign
To read more about Emma Watson visit
To read more about Rolene Strauss and her initiatives focused on women click here