Celebrating women throughout August

The 2015 Women’s Month is a build-up towards the 60th anniversary of the Women’s March and is aimed at educating the nation about the role women played in the emancipation of the continent, celebrating women who have made it in all spheres of life, uniting South African women and a rejuvenation of the commitment to strive for a society that is truly non-racial, non-sexist, united, democratic and free of all forms of discrimination.

Every week in August will focus on a specific sub-theme. Week one celebrated women in fashion, and was dedicated to profiling women in the fashion industry who contribute to job creation.

Week two celebrated women in film and the department of women, in partnership with the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) held two screenings produced or directed by women and telling stories of women. The screenings will target young people.

The fight against human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children from our neighbouring countries — with specific focus on Lesotho’s women — is the focus of the third week. South Africa will partner with the Lesotho government to host the following activities:

August 21: Symposium focusing on labour exploitation and related issues; August 22: A symbolic march at the Maseru border gate, where South African and Sotho women will give a memorandum of demands to authorities representing their countries. The march will call for an end to human trafficking and call for more stringent measures to combat the trafficking of women and children. The march will culminate in a rally held on Modderpoort farm, where leaders from both countries will have an opportunity to address women. The region is the home of Makhetha Mantsopa, an historic Sotho leader and prophet.

The economic empowerment of women is the topic for week four, and in line with the African Union’s themes for the African Women’s Decade and the new mandate of the department of women’s socioeconomic empowerment, the department will host high level engagements on the mechanisms and modalities for women’s financial inclusion in the economy.

September 4 and 5: A trade fair and exhibition by South African and Zimbabwean women will be held in Musina, Limpopo. Women from both countries will showcase and sell their products, from clothes to crafts; September 9: Techno Girl roundtable – The department will host a New Age business breakfast, focusing on the empowerment of young women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The business breakfast will culminate in a high level panel discussion on how to strengthen the Techno Girl Job Shadowing Programme.

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Rebecca Haynes
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