This year, the women's month is more significant because it coincides with the 25 years of freedom and democracy celebrations. We use this day to pay tribute to the many remarkable women of our nation. We build on their fearlessness and courage to push the struggle for women emancipation forward in order to grow South Africa together to advance women and girls empowerment and fight abuse. We must together continue to adopt a zero tolerance approach towards abuse in all its ugly faces.
Government is investing in the emancipation of women through various social and economic programmes because the women of this country are a key asset for the future of our land. There is significant progress to undo the injustices of apartheid, but there are still challenges that are still being experienced by women.
With substantive equality, we will have to shift or change the current paradigm for women and girls to be part of the mainstream economy. I share the sentiment that women must not continue to follow or be confined to career paths with low paying salaries, but be exposed to a variety of careers and opportunities at all levels in the public and corporate sector so that they could be ready to tackle the economy of the future including social infrastructure investment. Although the birth of democracy has seen women starting to occupy positions of authority and leadership, there is still domination by men in these sectors and we need women and in particular young women to occupy these roles.
The high rate of young women dropouts at institutions of higher education is a serious concern because this has a serious bearing on the economic emancipation of the future generations. We need to strengthen support for young women at these institutions to ensure they finish their education and contribute towards changing of stereotypes that confine women to the periphery of the economy. Our democracy has opened social and economic opportunities and support.
Let's encourage women to participate in programmes like the National Rural Youth Service Corps and the Technogirls programmes. The NRYSC provides skills to women in rural areas so they can participate in infrastructure and other development projects and the Technogirls encourages young girls to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology. These and many other programmes are aimed at harnessing the spirit of entrepreneurism that resides within women and young women with aptitude for business can take advantage of the many entrepreneurial opportunities for women to open up their own businesses.
South Africa was for a long time a land of discrimination and the reason it changed was that its women stood up and protested against the injustices. Today's woman must be a woman of substance who knows what they represent, can take and implement sound decision. The change we must talk about today, must be about creating opportunities for women in our society to be fulltime economic citizens.
Allow me to take this opportunity to encourage all the residents of Polokwane to pay tribute to those women who changed the turf for us and to celebrate their achievements. Enjoy the weekend with your loved ones and take active action towards the liberation of women.
"You strike the women, you strike a rock", Happy Women's Day!!
Cllr Thembi Nkadimeng
Executive Mayor: Polokwane Municipality