Thursday, August 11, 2016

COSATU Statement on the 60th Anniversary of the 1956 Women's March to the Union Building
9 August 2016

COSATU salutes all the women, who participated in the historic Women’s March of 9 August 1956 under the three year theme; “Women United in Moving South Africa Forward”. The women of 1956 fought against immeasurable odds to organise themselves for this historic march , and to voice their demands for their dignity and that of the oppressed black majority, including the abolition of the hated pass laws. In the same vein , we salute the women of our generation, who continue to carry the torch forward ,including those that can be found in the ranks of our liberation movement, our labour movement and in our vanguard Party. These women continue to push for substantive equality and the advancement of the working class revolution.

As we mark the importance of this day, we want to encourage all our members and our Alliance partners to keep pushing forward to a goal of a society that is completely devoid of gender inequality and gender based violence. We urge our members to remain united in their quest to transform our society in terms of race, class and gender. One of our main aims is to ensure that working women are free from super exploitation in the form of lock-ins during working hours; from the pitiful wages that are reserved for women workers; and from sexual exploitation in the form of jobs and promotions for sex. Its deplorable that there are still women ,who cannot access maternity benefits and family responsibility leave in our country.

COSATU is still very much committed to the fight against labour broking that affects young workers and in particular young women. The working conditions in sectors and companies that use labour-broking continue to be feudal and comparable only to slavery. Workers do not enjoy leave, medical and retirement benefits under this barbaric form of employment.

COSATU will continue to work alongside all progressive forces for the attainment of a living wage and the improvement of the social wage for the benefit of all women, including women in the informal economy and those who are unemployed. It will continue to lobby hard and fight for the speedy implementation of the NHI, through which our issues regarding the health system, not least women’s reproductive health rights continue to be under-served. We will continue to push for issues of women, women economic development and gender transformation to become basic to government focus.

We will continue writing women workers history, documenting the stories of the women workers and striving for a workplace that is free from all kinds of discrimination, especially discrimination against the LGBTI and the workers living with disability. We wish all the women of our country a Happy Women’s Day ,and vow to continue with our programmes that address the inequalities and remnants of oppression that continue to afflict many of our sisters, mothers and women comrades for the benefit of the whole nation.

Issued by COSATU
Gertrude Mtsweni (National Gender Co-coordinator)
Tel: +27 10 219 1322
Fax: 086 603 9640
Mobile: +27 82 829 2966

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