We need a year of celebration of woman

With women’s month and National Women’s Day just over, Francois Quarrie asked some women how successful they felt the month’s events were.The newly elected deputy chairperson of the Cosatu Isipingo local, Nonhlanhla Adams, an educator at Isizinda secondary school in Umlazi, believes that despite large sums of money being spent on the celebrations “only women with a high portfolio seem to really enjoy the celebrations. The women at home are neglected. Extra effort needs to be made to include all women in the community. Women’s parliament is where issues like these need to be resolved and the selection criteria of members to this parliament needs to be reviewed. The majority of the community is still not fully aware after 12 years of democracy.” Thembekile Makanya, an educator at the Sophie Pezwa primary school in Folweni shares the same sentiments. “The whole programme on the day fails to attract poor uneducated women – the very people it is supposed to assist. High profile women simply snub the old African legacy of sharing and it is evident in the level of education of the women who are trying to organise themselves in non-governmental and community-based organisations. Lots more has to be done to empower these women!”

Bussing womenHowever Matilda Morolong a social worker in KZN’s social welfare department is more optimistic. “Although many women were left out of the celebrations, more women are starting to involve themselves in women’s month celebrations. The social welfare department does get involved in planning such events and on women’s day all women who were identified through networking were bussed to venues like stadiums and city halls to participate and enjoy themselves.”She agrees that women with organisational status are always the ones who seem to enjoy the occasion more and “when these events are televised or broadcast on radio, it does little or nothing to motivate the poor and uneducated women in the community. We have to have programmes to increase women’s awareness of the need to link up and support initiatives that promote their progress. We should reach women in areas like pension pay points, hospitals, clinics, post offices and schools and provide free telephone hot lines with interpretation in their own languages.”

Year-long celebrationsMorolong also believes that while there is an appreciation of women’s month, “we need to look back to the time when we had a whole year of celebration of women.” This subtle move away from the year-long celebrations may be contributing to the lack of progress of poor uneducated women in South Africa. Deputy chairperson of the Wentworth Organisation of Women (WOW), Gloria Arendse, concurs that women should not just celebrate in August. “Throughout their lives they should feel important and reach out and celebrate together with other women in society.”

BriefsWestern Cape to counsel on TikNumsa’s Western Cape region is busy finalising plans to send some of its shop stewards on a three-day course on how to counsel those abusing chemical substances like tik.Since early this year, the problem of tik has been top of the agenda in union meetings.In some companies workers are addicted. In others, workers are trying to cope with their children who have succumbed to the drug’s attractions. And yet in another company, a worker combined his addiction with dealing in the harmful substance.At a regional gender meeting held in June, many women expressed interest in taking part in counsellor training. Now male shop stewards have joined the line of people wanting to be trained.Regional gender coordinator Shahida Meniers, hopes that the training will kick off before the end of the year.