National Women's Day
The first National Women's Day was celebrated on 9 August 1995, commemorating the 1956 march of around 20,000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria in protest against the carrying of pass books during the Apartheid era. Members of the Federation of South African Women rallied against the Apartheid government, with the support of women from all walks of life. Mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends came together in support of initiating this change. In a non-violent manner, these protesters stood together outside Pretoria’s Union Buildings for 30 minutes of silence. A display so powerful, it showed the unity of women.
Women in South Africa
Today, we honour these women who took a stand, by declaring 9 August a South African public holiday; National Women’s Day. A day that continues to focus on significant issues plaguing our country. Today, we draw focus on domestic violence, gender discrimination and harassment, equal pay in the working world, and something we are so passionate about at UCT Online High School, education for girls.
For decades, young women in South Africa have, and continue to struggle with barriers restricting them from getting a decent education. Poverty being the biggest obstacle for girls striving to get an education. With schools not always being in reaching distances, it makes having an education inaccessible.
The history, and nature of South African and other African societies have also put girls at a disadvantage. Women are given a lower social status, often being told what to do, and their importance of receiving an education is something that becomes unimportant. Too often, girls are forced to forfeit school to care for ill family members, and younger siblings or become young mothers themselves. Underprivileged girls who do get the opportunity to go to school are faced with sexual harassment and assault in schools from both fellow learners and teachers, a serious issue that weighs heavy on South Africa and their women. The risk of violence for a young girl to get the basic right to an education is far too high and something that needs to be addressed in South Africa.
Women’s Month and Women’s Day are not only reminders of how far we’ve come, but how far we still must go to see a change in how women and their rights are respected in this country.
At UCT Online High School, we’re committed to providing a safe, affordable and accessible learning space for all young women. We strongly believe that girls are learners today and leaders tomorrow. “Women have always been incredibly important members of society, women's wisdom in shaping social and cultural norms that prioritise order and harmony; whilst advancing humanity has been remarkable. A society without women is no society at all, those who ignore the power and wisdom of women do so at their own peril!”, says our own fierce leader, Yandiswa Xhakaza, UCT Online High School's Director and Principal. Get to know more about the incredible woman leading the charge at UCT Online High School, here.