A collective commitment by society, the government and the police to end gender-based violence and femicide will take top priority next month as South Africa ushers in Women’s Month.
On Thursday, Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Maite Nkoana- Mashabane launched Women’s Month 2020 under the theme “Generation equality: Realising women’s rights for an equal future”.
Nkoana-Mashabane said this year’s commemoration of Women’s Day and Women’s Month was under difficult circumstances because of the coronavirus pandemic as well as the gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) pandemic.
“It is important to recognise that women, youth and persons with disabilities have been hardest hit by the effects of these two pandemics,” she said.
Nkoana-Mashabane said Women’s Month would be utilised to contribute to ending gender discrimination, GBVF and to advance the rights of women and girls in political, economic, social and cultural spheres of life.
She said the fight against GBVF required societal commitment.
“We call upon our communities to join and help us eradicate this pandemic. We further appeal to families and communities to come together against this scourge to expose perpetrators and not turn a blind eye,” she said.
Speaking at the launch, Police Minister Bheki Cele said GBVF was a shameful reflection on men and how they treated those they claimed to love.
“For millions of women of this land, it has stopped being business as usual in terms of who they date, who they marry, who they trust, where they walk, where they wake up and who they let into their lives. Not knowing if and when they will turn against them and cause them harm,” he said.
This year’s Women’s Day will be celebrated virtually with participation by stalwarts, an address by President Cyril Ramaphosa and other activities.