Women leading the fight toward gender equality By: Nontsikelelo Khunju

No one should ever be allowed to forget the magnificent act of bravery of the 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 09 August 1956, to protest and fight against the patriarchal system that aimed to control and oppress women in this country. The bravery and courage displayed by the women of 1956 set a strong tone for the fight toward a gender-equal country as we know it today.

Since then, South Africa has passed progressive laws that called for women to be acknowledged for their effort and hard work and allow them the fair and equal opportunity to develop and advance in their respective fields of employment, by rightfully occupying high-ranking positions in both public and private sectors.

Outside of the efforts made by women to be recognized as equal beings to men, women’s fight for recognition and equal access to opportunities has and continues to be imperative. In the household structure, women have fought, tooth and nail, to be regarded as more than just primary caregivers and caretakers of the household. This has led to the call for conversations and transformation to take place when it comes to the recognition of domestic work as unpaid care work. Unpaid care work, inclusive of household chores, remains to be the burden that women and girls carry, both in South Africa and on a global scale, however, the level of effort and hard work that goes into household chores is often overlooked. In a YouTube Vlog interview, UN Women expert and women’s rights activist, Shahra Razavi, revealed that domestic work is valued at 10 

and 39 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and can contribute more to the economy than the manufacturing, commerce, or transportation sectors., (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjO6bM28d10). 

South Africa celebrates a progressive constitution that recognizes the importance of gender equality, all thanks to the groundwork, conducted tirelessly and fiercely by women who stand to advocate and demand women’s equal access to opportunities and resources. The South African government trails behind these strong-willed women and although transformation does not take place as per the desired pace, the fight continues, and women ensure to continue their plight to take up and occupy space.

As we celebrate and commemorate Women’s Month, I would like to hear what your thoughts are on the current state of gender- equality in our country. Share them in the comments below.

About Nontsikelelo Khunju

Nontsikelelo is a passionate writer, women’s rights activist, and child protection advocate. She writes content that is in line with her activism and advocacy and uses the art of writing to create awareness of the psychosocial challenges that women face. In 2017, two of her spoken word art pieces were published in the POWA Women’s Writing Project, Breaking the Silence: Painting My Future. She produces ground-breaking and thought-provoking content, writing on topics and subjects that many people generally shy away from.