Labour Wrap: Women must step forward | Fin24

Labour Wrap: Women must step forward

Aug 07 2014 07:31
Cape Town - Equal work for equal pay became law in South Africa this week. But, says Terry Bell in his Labour Wrap, this is perhaps 60 years overdue. Because, although the Freedom Charter is much touted these days and the march by 20 000 women on the union buildings in 1956 is commemorated in Women’s Day on Saturday, the Women’s Charter of 1954 is largely ignored.

But it was this charter, adopted by a meeting of women in Johannesburg in April, 1954, that laid out many of the demands that are now incorporated in the Bill of Rights and much of South Africa’s labour legislation.  To the forefront of this gathering in Johannesburg were leading trade unionists who put forward many demands that are still to be met.

Bell maintains that this is a history about which all South Africans should be aware when trying to understand where we are today and where we might perhaps be heading in the future. And this, he says, is particularly pertinent in the week of national Women’s Day and the decreed “Women’s month”.


He also notes that the overwhelming majority of the comments to his Labour Wrap and Inside Labour columns have come from males and wonders why this should be so.  Are women precluded from the internet or have no interest in such technology?  Or are they still subservient and fearful of voicing opinions?

He wonders if it is not time, in this turbulent period on the labour front, for women to step forward to reclaim their place in the transformation and future of the country.

- Fin24

What do you think? Add your voice to the labour debate or ask Terry a labour-related question.

* Terry Bell is a political, economic and labour analyst. Views expressed are his own. Follow him on twitter @telbelsa.

terry bell  |  labour  |  women's month  |  wages  |  labour wrap


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