Reflections on status of women on International Women’s Day

Minister Pandor at the Opening of an Art Exhibition in Celebration of International Women’s Day. Picture: DIRCO South Africa/X

Minister Pandor at the Opening of an Art Exhibition in Celebration of International Women’s Day. Picture: DIRCO South Africa/X

Published Mar 8, 2024


Cape Town - In light of International Women’s Day (IWD) today, the status of women and girls in society has once again come to the fore.

IWD is commemorated annually on March 8, with the 2024 campaign theme, Inspire Inclusion.

The inaugural IWD global commemorative day was held on March 1911, signalling a day of collective global activism and celebration across cultural, economic, political, and social achievements.

The day is also used to create awareness around discrimination and greater action against gender disparity.

Women For Change (WFC) spokesperson, Bulelwa Adonis, said in order to enhance inclusion of women and girls, every sector of society needed to provide a safe space for voices to be heard.

“Oftentimes women are portrayed as either angry, bossy, or loud.

“There’s often this negative picture painted when women and girls have a voice or have something to say.

“It's very clear that women and children are the main or primary victims when it comes to being victimised by gender-based violence and femicide.

“Another thing would be period poverty because of the huge gap between the rich and the poor and how that gap seems to widen.

“Multiple underprivileged girls and girls in rural areas find themselves missing multiple days that turn into weeks of school simply because they cannot afford to purchase pads and this alters their education.”

Established in 2016, the non-profit organisation has been an influential voice advocating for the rights of women and children in South Africa, using its platforms to educate, advocate and campaign on gender-based violence and femicide, human rights and gender equality.

“In terms of employment, inequality is still a major issue where we still find males are getting higher salaries or higher pay or you find males that are in the more dominating positions.

“Anyone that is of a high position in the workplace, we still find that they are predominantly male occupied so inequality is still a big issue.”

Junior project manager at a construction firm, Meagan Stellenboom, started working in the industry at the age of 19.

She said at the time, in 2009, women in the industry were relatively new, especially on- site.

“In the workplace, I often find that women are seen as paper pushers, the admin staff, the cleaning staff and above all still expected to work the same hours as our male counterparts. We are also often overlooked for senior positions and most often get paid less than our male colleagues.”