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Thursday, 10 August 2017 09:07

The United Nations stands with South Africa’s women

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The United Nations stands with South Africa’s women

While women in South Africa have indeed made great strides in achieving gender equality –South Africa has one of the highest proportions of female parliamentarians in the world – challenges still remain including systemic barriers that hinder women from attaining equality

PRETORIA, South Africa, August 9, 2017/APO/ --

The United Nations in South Africa extends its warm wishes to the women of South Africa on the commemoration and celebration today of National Women’s Day. This year marks the 61 st anniversary of the Women’s March that took place on 9 August 1956 – a day in which almost 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to present a petition against the carrying of passes to the then Prime Minister J.G. Strijdom.

The famous freedom song: Wathint` abafazi, Strijdom! was sang following the handing over of the petition and this led to the phrase “wathint' abafazi, wathint' imbokodo”  (You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock) being adopted by many women, to represent the courage and strength of South African women. That slogan remains relevant in present day South Africa.

While women in South Africa have indeed made great strides in achieving gender equality –South Africa has one of the highest proportions of female parliamentarians in the world – challenges still remain including systemic barriers that hinder women from attaining equality. Some of these obstacles include limited access to economic opportunities, gender-pay parity and discrimination in the private and public sectors, harmful cultural practices and limited access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. There is also a disturbing trend towards increased violence against women and girls particularly by men who are intimate partners and family members. The government has made commendable efforts in addressing these challenges through the adoption and implementation of the National Development Plan and the 2030 global sustainable development goals which focus on gender parity as well as relevant policies and interventions which the UN in South Africa continues to support.

As South Africa marks Women’s Day, the UN reaffirms its commitment to work with its partners and South African citizens to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to contribute to creating a conducive environment where women and girls in South Africa reach their full potential, gender equality is achieved, and the human rights of all citizens are respected and protected.

Distributed by APO on behalf of UN Information Centre in Pretoria (UNIC).

Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University (SU) is one of the oldest universities in South Africa. It boasts the highest weighted research output per full-time academic staff member of all South African universities and the second-highest number of scientists in South Africa who have been ranked by the National Research Foundation (NRF) – 429 in 2017. With 24 research chairs under the NRF’s South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChi) and seven Centres of Excellence, the University is regarded as a leader in the fields of biomedical tuberculosis research and management, wine biotechnology, water research, sustainable energy, animal sciences, and mathematical biosciences, amongst others. SU also participates in various international academic networks. The institution has over 150 bilateral partners in 44 countries on 6 continents and more than 4 300 international students from more than 100 different nationalities.

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