Women’s Day 2017: Celebrating A Woman’s Place - Everywhere
Dear Campus Community,
On 9 August, South Africa will celebrate National Women’s Day in commemoration of the brave women who stood up to the apartheid government in protest of an unjust policy which forced black women to carry passbooks in their own country.
On this day, in 1956, four brave women - Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, Sophie Williams and Lilian Ngoyi - led over 20 000 women of all races and ages from every corner of South Africa in a march towards the Union Buildings in Pretoria, to present a petition against the carrying of passbooks by women to prime minister JG Strijdom’s office.
The march was organised by the Federation of South African Women, which famously challenged the idea that ‘a woman’s place is in the kitchen’, declaring instead that ‘a woman’s place is everywhere’.
The women sent a public message that they would not be intimidated and silenced by unjust laws. They famously chanted in song: wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo (you strike a woman, you strike a rock). The song has come to represent the strength of South Africa’s women, who have faced many challenges, dangers and threats - and faced them with courage and conviction.
Today, South African women - and women all over the world - are still faced with many challenges, including: gender-based violence and sexual harassment; maternal health; inadequate access to education and employment; workplace discrimination and the gender wage gap; and simply being constantly underestimated, or told that they simply cannot do certain things.
The University of the Western Cape is committed to the empowerment and development of all women - in all aspects. We honour the sacrifices women have made, and celebrate the strides they have taken. And we know that women can do anything they set their mind to.
Women Who Change The World
At UWC, we have no shortage of women who are Deans or Deputy Vice-Chancellors or Directors; of women performing groundbreaking research; women who are changing the way we view education, and empowering future generations of students; women who are running successful companies or helping others learn to run theirs; women who are succeeding academically on the national or global stage...or all of those at once, and more.
This month (Women’s Month) we are celebrating some of these many wonderful UWC women - examine the profiles we’re sharing daily on our web page and our social media accounts, and you will see for yourself why we are so proud of the women who help make our campus, our country and our world a better place through academia, business innovation and community engagement.
That being said, let us add that women don’t have to transform the whole world to be considered extraordinary. Every woman transforms the lives around her as a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a mentor - and every woman is worth celebrating.
So we would like to wish all the wonderful Udubs women - staff, students, alumni and friends of the University - a happy, healthy, and festive Women’s Day….and indeed, a happy Women’s Month.
And to the men - please take the time to make the women in your lives feel special, respected and appreciated tomorrow...and for the rest of this month...and forever after.