by Nokubonga Mbanga, founder of Self Insights
Earlier this month, the world recognised International Women’s Day on 8 March, a time to reflect on progress made, to celebrate successes, and to inspire continuous improvement of women equality. It will take 217 years to close the gender parity gap according to the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap report. These figures are alarming, as they don’t seem to improve from last year’s figures (117 years in 2017).
I think that while 217 years looks very far away for our great grand daughters, there is progress as we are reconnecting with our voices through various collective efforts powered by women all over the world.
I reflected on progress made by women in my life who continue to inspire change. Here are some of the progressive experiences that I have been part of:
- Relationship Choices: I grew up in the rural Eastern cape in the 80s where conditions for women were the least favourable: witnessing Ukuthwalwa (girls would be picked up outside the gate of my parents shop by older men to be forced into marriage). Today I know our daughters have a choice.
- Choice of Responsibilities: I grew up in an environment where girls had a lot of ‘Do not do’ lists: this included not wearing pants or tight clothes, not visiting friends, household chores were girls chores. We would wash clothes in the river, which was miles away from home. Today in some areas our daughters wash clothes in a communal tap that is in a residential area, they wear clothes that they are comfortable with and they can participate in various activities not because they are girls but because they prefer to. Today our daughters have a choice.
- Career Choices: My grandmother was a housewife whose husband was in the mines, my mother was a housewife (never finished school as the only available career option that was available at the time of her school age was being a housewife) turned business woman. Her story inspired me to realize there are other options as she encouraged us to be better. Today there are more career options for our daughters.
These stories of change and progress may seem basic for some, but I think they remind us the wheels are turning for the better for women and they shall continue to turn as we continue to collective push for progress.
Choice gives us freedom to be able to exercise self-expression, and it is a gift that we must continue to collective pursue so that our daughters can have better experiences. May our positive progress continue to inspire us to create more possibilities for the next generation.
So to all of those who inspire possibilities, I honour you!
Nokubonga Mbanga is the founder of Self Insights. Bongi is a trained Self-Leadership Coach & Facilitator; she specializes in self Leadership effectiveness, Coaching, Performance enhancement, Personal Change & Transformation. Bongi is passionate about helping people discover their potential and explore new pathways to success. Bongi was the Recipient of the Global Training & Development Leadership award at the 25th World HRD Congress 2017. www.selfinsights.co.za
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