In the past month we have seen a few firsts by women. We saw the first African Woman to summit Mount Everest (Saray Khumalo), the first black owned private township school (Margery Tyobo), first black female combat fighter pilot (Maj Mandisa Mfeka); first PWC Southern Africa CEO (Shirley Mashamba) and finally 50% of Minister in the Cabinet are women.
It is indeed exciting times and we need to celebrate these historical moments. As we are celebrating, we need to be mindful of what this means. It was not so long ago when women were relegated to what is perceived as less responsible roles in society. It is a positive step that activists must pause and welcome. However, it is not a time to sit on our laurels and not to continue to ensure women’s emancipation.
This piece is about the benefits to society when we put women first. I am not saying this because because I am a woman. I say it because I know and believe that women make the world go around. Women are born nurturers whilst at the same time they are deal makers, strategists, pioneers and champions of societal change.
Women constitute the majority of the SA population and yet this is not translated into leading society and the corporate world. This is the case because we are still living in a male dominated society and it becomes a struggle to award the deserving roles when it should be a given. I believe that the sisters (mentioned above) have shown us that it we can accomplish this same level of excellence as our male counterparts, if not better. All of these cases are based on merit, passion and a commitment made by these women to be better and in turn, make the world a better place.
As someone who is passionate about this issue, it is my submission that we need to support one another to change this injustice through our deeds. We need to work to dispel the myth that women cannot work with one another or they are difficult bosses or they suffer from a pull her down syndrome. This is at best untrue if not malicious.
In conclusion I would like to encourage more women, young and old, to go out there and do what they do best. They need to go out there to live their passion, find the requisite support and continue to put one foot in front of the other. It is a long and hard road however as the one song says “There can be miracles, when you believe” and of course belief or dreaming without action is utopia.
Pam The Coach