On August 9 2022, we celebrate Women’s Day and recognise that although women have endured a long history of oppression, each fight brings us one step closer to freedom and equality.
THE HISTORY OF WOMEN’S DAY
An organised march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria took place on August 9, 1956. More than 20,000 women of all backgrounds marched to oppose the Urban Areas Act of 1950 amendments. To enforce racial segregation, control urbanisation, and keep track of migrant labour, the law of South Africa made it mandatory for all citizens classified as "black" to have an internal passport during the apartheid.
Organisers Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, and Sophia Williams led the protest. 14,000 petitions and 10,000 signatures were left at the prime minister's office doors by the women, as well as a silent protest for thirty minutes. Following the period of silent protest, songs were performed in recognition of the event and to ensure that their voices were heard. The song they sang was written for the occasion; it was called "Wathint'Abafazi Wathint'imbokodo," and it translates to "Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock.”
As a result of their peaceful protest, National Women's Day now exists. In 1995, the day was officially designated as a holiday. This day raises awareness of the challenges that women have encountered and continue to face, such as sexual harassment at work, unequal pay, a lack of education opportunities for girls, and the burden of sole childcare responsibilities.
Imagine a gender-equal world. A world that is devoid of prejudice, preconceptions, and discrimination. A world that is inclusive, diverse, and equal. A world in which diversity is acknowledged and celebrated. In support of Women’s Day, ELIM urges individuals to celebrate women for their accomplishments, raise awareness against bias, and act on the principle of equality.