International Women’s Day, 2017
South Africa, 8 March 2017
Today we at Iranti celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) once again. It is a day recognised internationally, as a time to celebrate the many social, political, cultural and economic achievements made by womxn*. It is also a time to be thankful to those who came before, paving the way for organisations such as our own.
It is also a time for all of us to strengthen our resolve and double down on the fight for equality that continues even after all these years. In Africa and across the globe, the gender gap remains prevalent in areas of education, healthcare and income, while civil and political rights for womxn are curtailed in many countries. Sexual assault and other forms of violence remains high across the board, while representation within the mainstream media remains lower than that of men.
Such challenges are exacerbated by the influence of the religious right in countries like the United States of America, where the newly elected Trump administration has, among other things, cut funding to Planned Parenthood and organisations across the globe for their role in providing women with reproductive health care; care which includes abortion services and access to contraceptives. With such injustices still ongoing, we at Iranti will continue to advocate for the reproductive and bodily rights of womxn not only in South Africa, but abroad as well.
However, we must remember that womxn come in all forms, and that feminism without intersectionality is not true feminism. Overwhelmingly straight, cisgender and white women have benefitted from the progress of the last century; and while they continue to face hardships that their male counterparts do not, we cannot lose sight of the trials that lie ahead for queer womxn and womxn of colour. Disability, economic status and geography also influence the standards of living and freedom of these vulnerable groups within our society.
Thus we ask those who are able, to embrace this year’s IWD theme: ‘Be bold for change’.
Be bold for the queer African womxn who have stood for justice when the risk was greatest to them and their communities. Be bold every day, in big ways or small, so that together we can facilitate change.
In celebration of IWD and those who helped to forge it, Iranti is organising an event entitled ‘Free Space: Queer Safe Sex’. For more information, click HERE, and be sure to watch our website for new updates.
*“Womxn” is used as an umbrella-term to link all female and gender-nonconforming persons who might not identify as women but who may experience many of the same oppressing factors.