President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday called on South Africans to use International Women’s Day 2018 to decide what they can do in their personal lives, communities, businesses and organisations to advance all aspects of gender equality.
Ramaphosa said South Africans should dedicate International Women’s Day 2018 to the memory of Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu, whose centenary is being celebrated this year. He said she was a courageous leader during the struggle for national liberation and leading activist for gender emancipation.
“We have a responsibility to the memory of Ma Sisulu and to the many women who walked alongside her to intensify the struggle for gender equality in all areas of life,” said the president.
“We must work together to significantly improve the status of women – and especially young women - in the economy, ensuring that we achieve gender parity. Women must be equally represented in the workplace and must receive equal pay."
The president said society needs to tackle the economic and social factors that prevent young women from completing school and accessing further education. He said the government will strengthen the support it provides to women entrepreneurs and business people.
Ramaphosa said the success of society’s efforts to grow the economy and create jobs will be measured in large part by the impact it has on the lives of South African women.
“South Africa has made great strides since the advent of democracy to advance and affirm women as part of building a non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous and united country.
“At the same time, we are confronted with the reality of women continuing to experience discrimination and disadvantage at home and in the workplace.
“The renewal of our country must entail a renewal of societal values that will position women and men alongside one another in a nation of equals. Patriarchy has no place in the South Africa we are building today.”
South Africa joins the international community in observing International Women's Day under the theme #PressforProgress.
International Women’s Day has been a global institution focused on equality for women since it was first observed by the Suffragettes in 1911.
The president urged South Africans from all walks of life to join the global campaign, #PressforProgress, and play an active part in creating a better life for women in the country and around the world.