As tribute to the thousands of women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the
extension of the pass laws to women; South Africa commemorates Women’s Month in August.
This historic march was a turning point in the role of women in the struggle for freedom.
The chairperson for the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Nonhlanhla
Ncube-Ndaba, said the dawn of democracy brought about the enactment of women’s rights in the country.
“A robust legislative framework has been developed over the years, but the key challenge remains the
implementation of these laws and policies to ensure the promotion, protection and fulfillment of women’s rights.
Women in South Africa continue to face the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment. Moreover,
the country has high levels of increased gender-based violence and femicide, in particular,” she said.
Following South Africa’s transition to democracy and the development of an inclusive Constitution, a number of
institutions were created to strengthen democracy and promote respect for human rights, Ncube-Ndaba said.
“The Commission for Gender Equality is one such key institution. It was established to deal with and address the
specific issues of inequality and discrimination against women. The Commission for Gender Equality is an
important mechanism to focus the attention of Parliament and the broader South Africa on the goal of gender
equality. Thus strengthening the Commission for Gender Equality is a key aspect to sustainable action towards
addressing gender equality. The committee welcomes the appointment of the new Commissioners to the
Commission for Gender Equality and looks forward to the work ahead in the sixth Parliament.”
Ncube-Ndaba said Women’s Month is an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on women’s achievements, as well
as the problems they face in the struggle to be free and the important role they play in society.