WITH Women’s Month coming to an end, Vuvuzela spoke to two well-known alumni to get their views on Women’s Month and why Men’s Month is not in South Africa’s future.
Helen Zille, leader of the DA, has made a name for herself in South African politics. She obtained a bachelor of arts degree at Wits and says Women’s Day (and month) allows South Africans to remember the women who made difficult choices in the past so we can have a more equal society today.
“It [Women’s Month] is also a time when we should recommit ourselves to opening up more opportunities for women and address the challenges women face in South Africa,” Zille says.
She says women should do whatever they feel like doing in Women’s Month and “not only what they have to do”.
“Women’s Day is significant but also slightly patronising. It enables society to compartmentalise women’s issues, rather than dealing with the underlying causes…
“So many men think it is their right to have multiple concurrent sexual partners…and young girls are often forced into their first sexual experience.
“Let’s deal with those core issues every day and not compartmentalise women’s issue into one day or month each year.”
Zille’s ultimate spoiling experience would be a meal with her family and she says there is no Men’s Day in South Africa because “every day is Men’s Day”.
Samantha Cowen’s voice is well-known in the wider Joburg area. She has hosted the Rude Awakening and the Breakfast Xpress on 94.7 Highveld Stereo for about 10 years now. She is also an ex-Witsie and says Women’s Month gives a chance for women to regroup and identify challenges.
“The maternal mortality in this country is still too high, as is HIV transmission among women and there’s a lost generation of women in their late 40s and early 50s who haven’t had the education and opportunities the rest of us have.”
She also thinks women should “not do anything” on Women’s Day or Month.
“I think women do too much on a daily basis. We’ve forgotten how important it is to have a nice cup of tea and a little sit down. And exhale.”
Her ultimate spoiling experience would be an afternoon where she has to do nothing at all and to “not think about anything at all”.
She does however think there should be a Men’s Day and Month. “I think men are in a very difficult position at the moment. Perhaps a day to reflect on the various talents we should be celebrating in the male gender would give both sexes a chance to acknowledge those.”
And why does she think there is no Men’s Day or Month in South Africa? “I have no idea! Find me a parliamentary suggestion box and I’ll pop it in!”