• Cara-Lee Compton

Women's Day 2020

On a day and in a month where we honour women, of all shapes and sorts, it is important to reflect on how far we've come.

Women's Day 1956. About 20 000 women march to the Union Buildings. Photo: theincidentaltourist.com/ Pinterest

In 1956, South Africa saw about 20 000 women, of all colors and cultures, march to the Union Buildings to protest against a law requiring black women to carry passes. There is a reason we commemorate this specific day. How profound is it that in the midst of Apartheid, women could come together under one banner?

So what happened?

Where did women decide that we will no longer join hands in common struggles?

I want to warn you that this piece is not necessarily one with feel good value. It speaks to the way women 'back' each other, or rather the lack thereof.

No matter what stage of my life I look back on, which societies I was part of or work environments I found myself in, there was always a woman, girl or young lady, or a few, that decided to go against the idea if 'women supporting women'. They would look out for their own interests and protect it, advance it, at any costs - even the detriment of others.

I am not talking about being competitive. I am talking about women not being happy for each other when it comes to their achievements and their dreams. If we cannot back each other, who will? Let's ponder on that point for a moment. Women fought for many years, all over the world, to have some sort of equal standing in society. You will know that still today this struggle continues.

So if women have to come together to fight the pay-wage gap, inequality, for human rights for us and our children, gender based violence and sexual harassment and abuse, how will we even begin to do this if we are fighting each other?

I should not be a stepping stone to your future. Other women should not be the ladder you use to get to the top. If we can't get together under one cause, fight the good fight and celebrate each other's successes, why are we celebrating Women's Day? Because we can vote?

No. There are so much more we have to fight for and against. We simply cannot do it 'every woman for herself'. I honestly hope that women can pull together again as they did in 1956, because if we do not make that conscious decision to do so, I fear that Women's Day will only remind us of what women achieved back then, in all their united power and glory, and how we failed those that fought so hard.

You will know which team you are part of. Team Women or Team Myself. There is nothing wrong with chasing and building your own dreams, but I urge you to support other women and advance their interests while doing so.