Women's Month 2017

The beginning of the month of August marks the start of the celebration of South African Women’s Month. National Women’s Day will be observed on 9 August 2017, commemorating the 1956 march on the Union Buildings protesting against the Pass Laws. The march brought to prominence the many struggles that women undergo on a daily basis – against gender oppression and discrimination, equitable representation in politics and the economy, and domestic violence among others. Many gains have been made in representivity in parliament for instance, from a pre-democracy figure of 2.7% to the current 48% of government being made up by women.  The erosion of discriminatory practices and policies against women are directly attributable to the relentless struggles of women, led by some who are today household names like Frances Baard, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and Sophie de Bruyn.

This year’s theme for the commemoration of Women’s month is, “The Year of OR Tambo: Women United in Moving South Africa Forward”. As the Council on Higher Education, we fully support women’s empowerment through equal opportunity, affirmative action, and access to developmental opportunities. We subscribe to the campaign for women to feel safe, and to live and move about free of physical violation, sexual harassment, abuse of any sort, and violence or the threat thereof.  

Women continue to play a pivotal role in the advancement and betterment of our society. In light of this, the CHE salutes the women of CHE, and acknowledges the contributions that each makes to the organization and to society generally. Our respect resonates with the words of Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Chairwoman of African Fashion International and the Global Agenda Council on Population at the World Economic Forum -

“I know for sure that African women are endlessly resilient. After what we have overcome in the past, nothing can stop us creating the future we and our country deserve. Just watch us.”

Amandla, Power to the Women of South Africa, Power to the Women of CHE.

According to the South African Government, “The 2017 National Women’s Day celebrations pay tribute to women and their role in the liberation struggle. This year’s celebration coincides with the centenary of struggle icon OR Tambo. Women’s Month takes place against a backdrop of an increase in the levels of violence and brutality against women and children in our society.

This year’s event also takes place against a backdrop of a poor performing economy. Invariably, women will be most affected by the economic decline and bear the brunt of its resultant negative economic and social effects.

Read more: SA Government

Thank you,


01 August 2017