Fighting for gender equality!

Women must fight for gender equality!

Yingwani Mashaba

Women finally took an oath to take on the conservative patriarchal system that seeks to relegate them into mere objects.

Many women feel that their capabilities are still doubted in some quarters and so they are often excluded in decision-making, be it in the family environment, government or in the corporate boardrooms.

Through their continuous discrimination they are seeking to intensify their struggle and assert themselves as respected individuals in society, responsible for their lives.

Hernic Ferrochrome’s first and the only woman shop steward, Martha Ntini says: “I am what I am today because of my mom – a single mother who worked her whole life as a domestic helper to raise my siblings and myself.

She put us through tertiary.”Learning from her mother’s experience, Ntini believes “hard work does not kill”. “Many families today are headed by single women, and you’ll find that in that family which is without a father, children are going to school, are well-fed and clothed and in some cases these kids are more well-behaved than those from families with both parents,” she says.

When asked whether men within Numsa are supportive of their women comrades, she did not mince her words! “Women must strive to break through the shackles of stereotypes and prejudice that have become part of our social fabric.

We have to assert ourselves as respected individuals in society where our children will reminisce with smiles on their faces,” says Ntini.Lawrence Mojoe remains unconvinced that men are fully behind the empowering of females.

Nor does he think many men treat women as equals who are capable of defining their own destiny.“Women have to be trailblazers for the speedy attainment of gender equality!” he says.

“Do not protect these men!”Pinky Ramokoka

These were the words of Mrs T Rahube when she lit the candle at the launch of a youth programme, Kitso ke Lesedi (Knowledge is Light) Social Development Programme.

The programme, launched at B Tause community hall in Lethabong, will provide support to victims of domestic violence, abuse and crime in the community of Lethabong.

The launch took place on youth day, June 16 in this Rustenburg township. In 1976 students lost their lives when they fought for school subjects not to be taught in Afrikaans.

But today’s youth easily become “victims of domestic violence, abuse and crime,” said Tau Motlhaping, manager of the programme. While government helps offenders, he said, victims are not considered by government.

The project helps victims not to commit more crime by trying to take revenge as this will not help them but will put them on the wrong side of the law.

The programme was started in December 2007 after a couple of men were inspired by organisations like South African Men Action Group (SAMAG) during the 16 Days of Activism campaign which was held at Itsoseng in North West.

The project is facing challenges like lack of funds but got help from government, business and civil society organisations to launch the programme.

Representatives from the Local Council, South African Police Services, Social Development Department, Health Department, and Human Rights Commission delivered speeches which conveyed messages of support.

The hall was packed with mostly young Lethabong residents who all enjoyed themselves. The launch was a huge success and people were served delicious food and soft drinks. Now the challenge is on Kitso ke Lesedi to support victims!

Numsa and Cosatu give support to domestic workersWhen Numsa shop stewards in Uitenhage saw domestic workers picketing on the side of the road over increased bus fares, they stopped to find out why.

Workers told them that the Algoa Bus Company had just increased fares by 11% since the last increase in February 2009.According to Numsa national deputy gender chairperson, Andile Gqabi, these workers could not afford the increase.

The Numsa and Cosatu local then stepped in to help the domestic workers negotiate with the bus company.After negotiations, the company agreed to drop its prices by “10% on all routes and to improve the condition of the buses,” says Gqabi.

In the future the bus company will involve the “community structures when they anticipate any increase to avoid any unnecessary fight.” Watch your drinkDoris Nqetho

Vomiting, loss of consciousness and slurred speech could mean that you have been drugged.Men as well as women need to be alert, as drink spiking is still occurring in night clubs.

Police recently issued a warning regarding people being drugged at parties especially in the city of Durban, where a number of date rape cases had been dealt with.

People are usually too embarrassed to report the crime as they do not remember what happened. “Depending on the drugs used the following effects can occur: Vomiting, loss of consciousness, muscle cramps, lack of co-ordination, no balance and slurred speed.

Some people lose all inhibitions” said the policeAnyone can be a victim but it is usually females in their teens or women up to the age of 30 years. The most common reason for drugging is to rape or sexually abuse the victim.

Sometimes drinks are spiked to see what effect it would have on the victim.Perpetrators can be charged with murder should the victim die.

Prescription drugs that are used include barbiturates, muscle relaxants and hypnotics like valium, rohypnol and serepax.What to do to avoid being a victim• Do not leave your drink unattended;•

Do not accept drinks from people you do not know;• Accept sealed bottled drinks• Ensure your friends who are going out with you have your cell phone number so that if you go missing, they start looking for you• Once a person suspects they have been drugged, they should report it to the police and be tested for the usual date rape drugs.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find out who spiked the drink because in most cases people do not remember what happened.


Numsa News