Today my blog post goes out to the fierce females, gorgeous girls and wonderful women of this beautiful country we live in. The mothers, the daughters, the wives and the sisters of South Africa. Today I commemorate the struggle and sacrifice made by those 20 000 women on their way to the Union buildings in Pretoria on the 9th of August 1956. Their fearlessness has caused for empowerment, not only for me, but for many women in our country.
I could go on and give you a Wikipedia styled explanation of this day; where it originates from, what caused the march, what happened at the march, who led the march, blah blah blah… but my name is not Google. Instead I’d like to talk about what this day means me to as a female in South Africa today and express my gratitude to those great “Wuman-beings”.
Today I am free to be whatever I want to be. Back then I was limited to only being a nurse, a teacher or a stay-at-home parent (I know I may not have been a thought at the time, my mother wasn’t even born in that era), but those women opened doors for our generation of women and young ladies. Today I am able to compete in male dominant fields of work, I can be an engineer or an architect, the possibilities for us today are endless (not that I want to be any of those).
Our gender is sometimes seen as vulnerable and weak, but thanks to those great ladies of 1956, we can have the world at our feet or, as Queen B would say, we can even run this mutha. But why does it look like we’re limiting this day to pampering activities? And boy do we love being pampered… but really now? This day is being limited to tea parties, spa treatments; you know all the superficial/materialistic things.
On Friday I approached my Radio/Broadcasting lecturer, Maxine Greef (who is also a newsreader at SmileFM, nudge nudge wink wink ;P ), and I asked her what Women’s Day has come to mean to her and the point she brought across really made me stop and think. Here’s what she had to say; “I find that in the last few years Women’s Day has come to mean to people an opportunity for big corporates and for radio stations and for companies to take women out on a high-tea , to give them a pamper session. For me Women’s Day shouldn’t be about that, Women’s Day is about commemorating a very important time in our country’s history. It’s a time when women stood up for their rights and it wasn’t just a small group of them, there were thousands of them. And for us to on Women’s Day reduce it to something like a high-tea or a spa treatment, that’s not what Women’s Day is about. And I find that Women’s Day should be about the day that I sit with my daughters so that I can explain to them what the history of this country is. To tell them that women should be honoured, women should be respected and that they have every right to have everything that everyone else has got. They can be anything they want to be, they can study whatever they want to, they can travel where ever they want to, they can go climb a tree or go race a car, they do not have to have any restrictions on them. I find with the media nowadays, there are so many restrictions on women, they’ve reduced us to talk about body shape and about how our hair looks and how we want to have the right to wear a bikini, we’ve always had the right to wear a bikini, we just need to take that right and for me that’s what I think I’ll do on Women’s Day and that’s what I want Women’s day to mean to my girls. That it’s not about us just going out to go and pamper ourselves, but to actually talk about what’s important, like women’s issues and not to be labelled a crazy-woman when we say we want equal rights, but to realise that we have power, women come with a whole community attached to them, everything that we do, the way we raise our children or when a lot of women support their families. The fact that in most jobs women get paid the least, they get or have menial jobs, they get paid so little that they don’t feel they have a voice and for me that’s what Women’s Day must be about, it’s about giving those women that can’t stand up for themselves a voice.”.
Now Paragraphicly Correct me if I’m wrong, but she’s totally right. There are women out there who are taking the initiative and making this day more educational, but we need to broaden this view more amongst ourselves as women. Let’s start educating ourselves and each other more about this day, select another day to spend at a spa and start schooling each other about what really matters in life. Things’ including self-development and self-empowerment goes a long way and I thank those women of 1956 for playing a role in that.
Happy National Women’s Day to each and every female in South Africa.
And yes I’ve changed my tagline to “in my own words…”, because this is all in my own words featuring Maxine Greef.