Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela is today (Fri) expected to lead the provincial commemoration of International Women’s Day in Mantsopa Local Municipality in Ladybrand.
A statement released by her office this week stated that Ntombela aims to use this day to highlight and outline measures that government will embark on in their pursuit of women empowerment.
“As society… we are faced with a number of challenges, and as women in particular, our challenges are quite steep,” said Ntombela in the statement.
“We are therefore going to use the International Women’s Day on Friday to once again bring to attention violence that women and children are subjected to on a daily basis,” she added.
The Premier is expected to be joined by women leaders from different organisations as well as leaders from other formations such as faith based organisations, civic organisations and many others.
The International Women’s Day has been celebrated for over a century in recognition of the strides women have made in their quest for parity. It is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
The theme for this year is: ‘A balanced world is a better world’.
According to the United Nations, after the Socialist Party of America organised a Women’s Day on February 28, 1909 in New York, the 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference suggested a Women’s Day be held annually.
The Socialist Party of America is said to have designated the day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against poor working conditions.
The UN says after women gained the right to vote in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was however predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.
The United Nations Women’s Organisation (UN Women) says on its website that achieving a gender-equal world requires social innovations that work for both women and men and leave no one behind.
The UN Women says from urban planning that focuses on community safety to e-learning platforms that take classrooms to women and girls, affordable and quality childcare centres, and technology shaped by women, innovation can take the race for gender equality to its finishing line by 2030.
“It begins with making sure that women’s and girls’ needs and experiences are integrated at the very inception of technology and innovations. It means building smart solutions that go beyond acknowledging the gender gaps to addressing the needs of men and women equally.
“And ultimately, it needs innovations that disrupt business as usual, paying attention to how and by whom technology is used and accessed, and ensuring that women and girls play a decisive role in emerging industries,” said the UN Women. .
The Premier’s statement also said road safety and peaceful elections, set for May, will be on the agenda for the commemorations.
Ntombela said she was concerned with the growing number of fatal road traffic accidents and called upon motorists to be more cautious on the roads.
“We constantly hear reports of road carnages, therefore we are going to make an appeal to all our road users to exercise caution on the roads. Only last week we heard of a deadly crash which claimed 13 lives in our province.
“And with the 8th of May 2019 announced as the day for elections, we are also going to use the event to call for peaceful elections… for the unity of all our people,” the Premier noted.