This speech was delivered by Andrew Louw, Leader in the Northern Cape, During the launch of the Democratic Alliance Women’s Network (DAWN) in Upington on Saturday 26 September 2015.
MEMBERS OF THE PROVINCIAL LEGISLATURE
MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
ALL COUNCILLORS PRESENT
MOST IMPORTANTLY OUR BEAUTIFUL DAWN MEMBERS LADIES AND GENTLEMEN GOODMORNING, GOEIE MORE, DUMELANG!!!
It is indeed a privilege and honour to address you all fellow democrats this morning, on this important and historic day for us as a party in the Northern Cape.
Today is a very important day for the party as it serves as the launch of constituting our key party structure, the Democratic Alliance Women’s Network.
We can never dispute the role women play in our society as pillars not only in our individual households but in communities as a whole.
Dit is waar as mense se: As jy wil iets sê, vra ‘n man; maar as jy wil iets gedoen moet word, dan vra jy ‘n vrou.
The women are the doers; they are ready to get the job at hand done without much hesitation, and today with this event we want to recognize and appreciate the role of our women.
We want to appreciate the mothers who wake up early in the morning to prepare the children for the day.
We want to appreciate the mothers who catch the early bus to work.
We want to appreciate the mothers who keep the household intact during the day.
We want to appreciate the mothers who make sure food is ready in the evening for everyone to enjoy. Wat is ‘n huis sonder ‘n moeder!!!
Moreover we want to appreciate the women who run daycare centres in communities and soup kitchens to feed the hungry.
Just like the women of 1956 who made the historic anti-pass laws march to then Prime Minister of South Africa JG Strijdom, you are zealous and very courageous and for that we take our off hats to honour you.
The women of 1956 broke that stereotype that women belong in the kitchen. Women had once again shown that the label that women are politically incompetent and immature, tied to the home, was outdated and inaccurate.
Today we see women at the fore front of development, be it in politics, government and churches. Yes there is still a long road to total women emancipation.
However we have seen good women rise and lead amongst us. Our former Federal Leader Helen Zille led this organisation for successful eight years. She took our party from a mere opposition player to a party of government. In the 2014 elections, we won 4 million votes.
Our interim DAWN leader right here in the province, my colleague Safiyia Stanfley has been a face for many women in this province, through her role as Interim DAWN leader as well as our spokesperson on gender and women in the legislature.
She headed our operations in the province with dedication before her election to serve in the provincial legislature.
Today our operations once again are run by a level-headed woman in the person of Dalmaine Christians. We still see more young women rising in our ranks and we remain optismistic about the future, especially the up-coming local government elections.
Ons wil meer voue raadslede sien!!
But colleagues and fellow democrats we should not shy away from the truth that many women are still at the sidelines of economic development in our land.
While South Africa’s general unemployment is estimated at 25, 7%, it rises up to 50% amongst African women. About 41% of these women live in the rural areas where economic prospects are limited.
South African women still face serious challenges in realising their full potential.
Issues of unemployment, poverty, inequality and violence have increased in the country and affects women harshly.
Even amongst the employed women, the majority is found in low paying jobs such as domestic work; tellers in the retail sector; or shop-floor workers in the textile sector that has been shedding jobs over the past years.
A number of women are in the informal sector of our economy, with little prospects of economic advancement.
The severe under-representation of women in various economic sectors and in decision making positions in the private sector demonstrates the need for urgent intervention to improve the status of women in our society.
However the day is coming that under a DA government women empowerment will be high on the list to advance our country. Full support will be given to women-run small businesses; bursaries for young girls will be a priority. Opportunities will be expanded to empower and develop women. That change colleagues is needed and is needed now.
Fellow democrats that change is coming!
Change that will see our courageous women live up to their full potential.
Change that brings freedom.
Change that brings fairness.
Change that brings opportunity.
To my fellow democrats who will be elected to serve in the various leadership positions for DAWN I wish you all the best. I pledge on behalf of the entire party leadership in the province we will give you 100% support as you drive and champion women’s issues in the Northern Cape.
I thank you.