Should South African Women Stop Celebrating Women’s Day?

OPINION – In South Africa, the 9th of August and indeed, the month of August in its entirety is a time when women and the institution of womanhood is celebrated, appreciated and most importantly, protected. It is a time when all the issues that South African women face daily are finally addressed.

It is a time when all the prejudices and disadvantages that dehumanise and threaten the lives, health and success of women (simply because they are women) are debunked and dealt with by the government, private companies and other organisations powerful enough to institute change. Am I right?


That could not be further from the truth. Yet, that is what we have been led to believe. Somehow, a single day of a so-called women’s day celebration is supposed to be enough. A celebration which in reality, feels like a disingenuous attempt at placating South African women.

For years now, women have complained that it is truly not enough and naturally, this complaint continues to go unentertained by the organisations whose responsibility it is to take action. As a result, in 2018, many South African women have simply decided to ignore the very existence of the day and rightfully so.

Until such a time when sincere, effective and permanent efforts to tackle the plight of women in this country are finally in place, South African women ought to continue to ignore and even condemn any half-baked pseudo celebration of our place on this country.

Until the extremely high statistics of gender based violence in all its forms, femicide, unequal pay and other acts of discrimination against women in this country are addressed and dramatically reduced;

Until legislation that seeks to make the aforementioned a reality is enacted and acted upon;

Until the contributions of women to our history and development as a nation are given the weight they deserve in the form of statues and renamed landmarks;

Until an honest widespread conversation about gender roles, sexism and patriarchy is effectively engaged on;

Until all these and more, the women of this country should not recognise such unimpressive and isolated events like women’s day because they do very little for our cause.

Image source: Kelley Felix

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