POPCRU’s International Women’s Day Message 08 March 2019

Comrades and Friends

On behalf of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU), we would like to wish all women a happy International Women’s Day.

We wish to also send our regards to all males present here, and many others who take keen interest in such activities as they are aimed to teach and unite all sexes the positive value of bringing about the much needed change within our communities in fighting gender-based violence, discrimination and the marginalisation of one by another on the basis of sex.

This is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.

The future is exciting. Let’s build a gender-balanced world.

Everyone has a part to play – all the time, everywhere.

From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We should all notice its absence and celebrate its presence.

Balance drives a better working world, and let us all help create such communities, country and ultimately world.

As POPCRU, collective action and shared responsibility for driving a gender-balanced world is key. For us, International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender balance.

Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.

It gives me immense pleasure to share with you that today we have made positive steps in recognising women leadership across the spheres in various fields.

COSATU, in its history, has elected as President a young and capable female, and we are generally seeing women from all walks of life making huge impacts in areas they specialise in.

Although we might agree that even though there are emerging positive signs, a lot more needs to be done not in isolation of the very male counterparts who have for years been seen not to support gender equality on the varying basis which sometimes include tradition, culture and the so-called masculinity cult, it is now more important that as we ensue these discussions, everyone must form part to actually understand and appreciate the value of gender equality.

I know in most men’s view, my mother, my sister and my wife are the three important women in our lives, who have not only made us better people and supported us through thick and thin, but also inspired us to join and do something fruitful for the society.

We need to make gender equality an integral part of every aspect of life and of every human endeavour.

There is overwhelming evidence that equality for women is progress for all. It leads to inclusive growth, reduces poverty and inequality and contributes to peace and security.

Gender equality offers the world solutions to the challenges facing our generation especially poverty, inequality and insecurity.

Today’s woman is no longer a dependent soul; she is Independent and self-reliant in every respect and is capable of doing everything. Let’s recognise the importance of their existence and motivate them for the future achievements.

In the same breadth, we should directly speak to men and boys in commending those who have spoken out and stood with women and girls as they hold up half of the sky. We call on all men to also take a stand and hold up their half of the sky to speak out and to take action because silence and inaction of good men conspire against women.

Each one of us must take a stand, cross the line and be on the right side of history, just as many of you did in the struggle against apartheid…as leaders of nations, journalists, sportspersons, business leaders and citizens.

Let us all work together to eliminate discrimination against women. Let us all help women gain full and equal participation in global development.

I thank you.