In one of the largest demonstrations staged in this country’s history, 20 000 women of all races marched to Pretoria’s Union Buildings on 9 August 1956, to present a petition against the carrying of passes by women to the prime minister, JG Strijdom.
The march against the pass laws was organised by the Federation of South African Women. The Federation famously challenged the idea that ‘a woman’s place is in the kitchen’, declaring it instead to be ‘everywhere’. Although Prime Minister J.G. Strijdom was not at the Union Buildings to accept the petition, the women of South Africa sent a public message that they would not be intimidated and silenced by unjust laws.
The first National Women’s Day was celebrated in 1995. South Africa had just become a democratic country at the time, and the day was declared a national holiday. Since then annual celebrations take place throughout the country.
The past 24 years of democracy in South Africa have seen significant strides being made to ensure that gender equality has become a societal reality. Indeed, South Africa has received international recognition for these efforts and is currently ranked 19th in the world by the Global Gender Gap Index, a framework used by the World Economic Forum to capture the magnitude and scope of gender-based disparities among countries in the areas of economic participation and opportunity; educational attainment; health and survival; and political empowerment.
At MMS Group, we value to important rule that women play, not only in our lives, but also in our firm:
But what does it take for women to succeed in the work place? What challenges do women face? And how do you find balance between your work and family life?
We asked our female staff members the following questions and here is what they had to say:
How do you balance your work and personal life? Are you a partner, wife or mother and do struggle to find a balance between your commitments?
“Work will always be there, your personal life will always be there, every single person out there has that same struggle, don’t let anybody tell you it’s different. Prioritise, when things get though, and it always does. I sit back and think okay, what can wait and what can’t. Always start with the stuff you can get done in 5 minutes or less. Then everything that has a deadline. Then the rest. If it can die, feed it first 😊”
“It is a daily struggle to find a balance between the two. In the past it was very difficult for me to find the balance, however I have come to the realization that a women’s work never ends, therefore it is important to stop moaning and start making the best of what you have and be nice towards yourself about what you have accomplished. We are stronger than we think, but we also need to have ‘’me’’-time to rewire and find peace within yourself.”
“Yes! It is a struggle to balance these two aspects of our lives but thanks to technology it is becoming a little easier. We can now do shopping online, pay bills and catch up with our friends and family on the go!”
What challenges have you experienced to get where you are today?
“I had to study part time while working full time and raising a little baby. It was everything but easy.”
“I have had quite a challenging road with regards to my articles. When I was at my worst, doubting myself, I had to realize that I worked hard to get where I am, therefore giving up now is not going to happen. Once I made the decision within myself I was able to face my fears and make a success of my career. The moment that you think of giving up, try to remember the reason why you have held on for so long.”
“It took me a while to realise just want I wanted to do with my life, with every failure, I had to struggle to actually get up and go on. It was way easier to just let everything be than to work to get it done. After I qualified I felt so stupid for not finishing it earlier.”
Do you have any advice for young women studying towards professional degrees?
“Follow your dreams, do not give up at. Equip yourself with all the necessary skills you can acquire, whether big or small it could make a difference. And it’s almost impossible to make it alone, no man is an island. Work well with others no matter the age, everybody has something to offer and learning is a never-ending process.”
“Don’t let failure dictate who you are. Each hurdle is a new challenge do whatever it takes to get over it.”
“Finish your studies as soon as possible after school but also make sure to enjoy life to the fullest.”
“Believe in yourself and remember that it is never a failure, but always a lesson.”
Do you have any advice for future women business leaders?
“Keep on keeping on, pass on the knowledge and skills to your fellow women. Empower and uplift others. Give as much assistance and advise as you can so others can feel encouraged to do bigger and better things.”
“Ensure you set goals for yourself and do everything to get there and never give up on your dreams.”
“Never give up. You are stronger than you think.”
“There is no time like the present, take the time to focus on yourself and what you want to achieve in life, it won’t get any easier once you have a husband and family to support.”
“Life happens, take it by the horns!”
Let us celebrate women this month and remember, when women support each other, incredible things happen!
Happy women’s month!
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)