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A Woman’s Place is Everywhere

A woman’s place in our society has always been challenged. Let’s reflect on the hardships women have experienced throughout history and celebrate their strengths.

“A woman’s place is in the kitchen.”

I beg to differ. Women all over the world and across all walks of life have proved that their place is everywhere.

Women have always been fighting for the right to be treated equally. In the past, women’s rights have always been overlooked. They were never seen as equal—a woman could not venture into a career path that was meant for men; she was not allowed to speak up for herself; she was confined to her role as “wife”, “mother”, and “homemaker”.

We celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th in honor of women around the world. We revere all accomplishments made by women all around the world across different avenues. In South Africa, however, we have another day where we celebrate the specific accomplishment of a group of brave women.

Women’s Day in South Africa

Just like in other countries, women in South Africa were viewed as not being competent or mature enough to have any roles outside of the household. In addition to this, their freedom of movement was heavily infringed. In 1956, a group of strong and fearless women, of all races, came together to march against legislation that required ‘people of color’ to carry a “pass” at all times. This pass was a document of permission which allowed them to enter “restricted” areas during the apartheid regime. Over 20,000 women from all over the country took to the streets in one of the biggest demonstrations of the country. These brave women sent a clear, public message that they refuse to be silenced or have their freedom taken from them by unjust laws.

Women’s Day in South Africa is celebrated to give recognition to the courage and strength of these women. This day serves as a reminder of the crucial role that women play not only in our country but in society as whole. August 9th was a day that women were given a voice. They did not just fight only for their rights, but for the rights of the future women of South Africa as well.

“Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo” (“You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock”)

This phrase has become an iconic representation of courage and strength for South African women.

Women’s rights today

We may be living in a modern world, but to this day women are still undermined. Women are still a victim to gender-based violence, and inequality in the workplace. Societies often frown upon women who are career-driven and want to be independent. There are some who still have that mindset that because she is a woman this is not meant for her.

I have always been encouraged to reach for the stars and not to let anyone put me down. So, when I hear such remarks, it irks me. I find it so unbelievable that we still have these stigmas attached to women. We were fortunate enough to be born in a time where we did not have to go through hardships that women have in the past, but we have a battle of our own to fight.

Women are seen as better leaders, especially in times of crisis. Employees look for a leader who is understanding and sensitive, who displays honesty and integrity, and who inspires and motivates them, amongst others. These traits are more often displayed by women. When an organization is in trouble, they turn to a female leader to resolve the issue. A woman’s compassion and resilience is what makes her a force to be reckoned with.

History has shown that when a woman is challenged, she will rise above all. We are fierce and strong, and our passion to fulfil our dreams fuels a fire that burns the brightest. She is not just a wife, a mother, or a homemaker. She is a pioneer, a leader, successful and independent—an inspiration.

Here’s to the strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.

headshot azraa shaik

Author

Azraa Shaik

Azraa is a Marketing Intern for SHL in South Africa. She is a Bachelor of Commerce Graduate, with majors in Finance and Marketing, from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Azraa is enthusiastic about exploring her new role under the SHL banner and is keen on learning and developing.

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