Every August - National Women’s Month - there is a ritual that
amounts to pledges to improve the lot of women, says Terry Bell in his
latest Labour Wrap. And, on Sunday the ritual will continue with
remembrances of the great anti-pass march by women on Union Buildings.
Bell maintains that very little has really changed in the position of
women, especially on a global basis. He also points out that, in South
Africa, so much history, especially regarding women, has been forgotten
Many of the historical facts that have been
unearthed have also been the work of historians from other lands. A
classic example of this is the story of the evangelist, educator and
academic, Nokutela Dube. Bell notes that she played an often more than
equal role in the substantial achievements of the educator John Dube,
who was the first president of what became the ANC.
was Mali-born American academic Cherif Keita who unearthed details of
Nokutela’s life and produced a film, Remembering Nokutela, that was
screened last year by the BBC. Bell hopes that, this being Women’s
Month, it will be screened here.
However, he says the “media
murmurings” about Women’s Month tended to be eclipsed by news that
Beijing had been awarded the right to stage the 2022 Winter Games. This,
he adds, is ironic, and not only because of China’s poor record of
human, let alone women’s rights.
Bell points out that 20 years
ago, 189 countries signed the Beijing Declaration described as a
“visionary agenda” for women’s rights. However, that vision, he says,
remains a mirage for millions of women around the world.
that, historically, the Olympics have had a baleful influence, being
initially an elitist, male only and racist movement that was countered
by organised labour in the form of “worker games”.
As a result,
he says he will focus in his Inside Labour column on the relationship
between the Olympics, Beijing and women’s rights.
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* Terry Bell is a political, economic and labour analyst. Views expressed are his own. Follow him on twitter @telbelsa.