This women’s month, we remember the gallant women of 1956 who marched to Pretoria to demand change. Now, as we continue to assess the gains made by women in South Africa since 1994, we recognise the systemic weaknesses that continue to impede gender equality in South Africa. We need to remove historical, structural, institutional, and cultural barriers to the realisation of gender equality in South Africa.
Educating girls and providing access to women remains the tried and tested method to true liberation as it unlocks fundamental human rights such as literacy and political participation. Access to higher education provides one with more choices, and embarking on a PhD programme can be life-changing. My PhD journey was daunting at times however my supervisor, with whom I had similar research interests, set clear delivery deadlines and held me accountable, more than anything, Prof Rabie skilfully guided me towards demonstrating doctorateness in my work and my contribution to knowledge.
The School of Public Leadership developed and equipped me to lead with confidence and gave me an academic voice, a stepping stone to debate policy ideas, and most of all, empowered me with skills in finding solutions to many of our complex developmental challenges. I now have the opportunity to contribute to the development of our country. As the Chairperson of the Financial and Fiscal Commission, appointed by President Ramaphosa, my key objective, working with parliamentary oversight mechanisms, is to ensure that allocated budgets and fiscal tools in all three spheres of government are gender inclusive and are responsive to the lived realities of women. This will progress the aspirations of the women who marched in 1956.
Dr Patience N. Mbava addressing women at the Women’s Charter Report Back event