Impact SA

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Every year, in August, South Africa marks Women’s Month in tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. A system meant to control women even further and reduce women to passive beings, at the mercy of men.

This year’s Women Month is recognised under the theme: “Women’s Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment: Building Back Better for Women’s Improved Resilience”.  The concept of gender equality is a global campaign and links South Africa to global efforts to achieve gender equality by 2030. The United Nations theme for 2022 is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”.

Women’s Month is a tribute not only to the thousands of women who marched on that day in 1956, but also a tribute to the pioneers of the women’s movement in this country, dating back to 1913, when women like Charlotte Maxeke led the way in establishing the ANC Women’s League and encouraging women to engage in the struggle for freedom. Pioneers include Cissy, Jaynab and Amina Gool, who were amongst the leaders of the National Liberation League and the Non-European United Front of the 1930s.

The names of Ray Alexander Simons, Elizabeth Mafikeng and Elizabeth Abrahams will always be associated with the struggles of women. In the 1940s Amina Pahad and Gadijah Christopher, who were amongst the first volunteers to occupy the site of the 1946 Passive Resistance Campaign on Umbilo Road in Durban cannot go unnoticed.

Today women have established themselves in leadership roles within business, hospitality, politics, social investment and law, among many other sectors of the South African economy. They’ve done so on the back of what the early women’s rights campaigners set out to do – ensure women are treated equally by men and by society.

ImpactSA and Vodacom are celebrating Women in Leadership through the month of August, putting the spotlight on extraordinary women who have ignored the barriers before them and reached the height of their professions on their own terms.

Apart from relating their individual journeys to their leadership positions, our participants will be highlighting their views on the status of women in their fields and offering sage advice to a generation of women on how to navigate their way through gender inequality in the workplace.


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