Welcome Address by Honourable Dr Dlamini Zuma to the Launch of the Progressive Women's Movement, 6 August 2006

I welcome to this historic gathering of women the Deputy President to South Africa , Ms Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, The Prime Minister of Mozambique, Mrs. Luisa Diogo, The Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Mrs Joyce Njuru,

Guests from Namibia, our sisters from Swapo, guests from Mozambique from the Organisation of Mozambican Women; and from Angola, the Frelimo Women's Movement.

I welcome participants from all the provinces of our country

And who represent all sectors of our society. Ambassadors and High Commissioners.

I welcome you on behalf of the steering committee of the Progressive Women's Movement.

We have come together to launch a progressive women's movement in South Africa. A movement that is representative of the progressive forces in our country, a movement that will indelibly stamp the issues that women face daily onto the agenda of every sphere of society in our country.

Women globally are facing challenges which stem from the most extreme forms of capitalist exploitation, aggressive militarism, resurgent racism, virulent and violent forms of religious fundamentalism.

The war in Iraq and the current situation in the middle east are clear reflections of a world order which threatens the wellbeing of the majority of the world's people and cultures.
Whilst many countries have women who serve in positions of power in their respective governments, we cannot be complacent and we must remember that it is a mere 160 years ago that New Zealand in 1893 was the first country to allow universal suffrage for women, with Kuwait being the most recent in 2005.

For many decades women were excluded from voting together with the mentally insane and children. This was not only the case in South Africa, but, in Germany women were forbade along with the mentally ill, school children and apprentices from joining political parties or attending meetings at which political subjects were discussed.

We will spend the next three days listening to inputs and messages from South African as well as women from other parts of the globe, I am certain that each message will bring a certain amount of commonality in terms of the issues we need to tackle together .

Peggy Antrobus, an educationist and social worker from Grenada, in her book "The Global Women's Movement" summarizes her views on women's movements as follows;
" A women's movement is a political movement - part of the broad array of social movements concerned with changing social conditions, rather than part of a network of women's organizations (although many women's organizations may be part of a women's movement)". A women's movement is grounded in an understanding of women's relations to social conditions.

Many speakers will follow me today and provide the ideas which will lead our deliberations.

I wish to welcome you with an excerpt from a poem from our own Dora Tamane, a South African woman, she opened the launch of the United Women's Organisation.

YOU WHO HAVE NO WORK, SPEAK
YOU WHO HAVE NO HOMES, SPEAK
YOU WHO HAVE TO RUN LIKE CHICKENS FROM THE VULTURE, SPEAK

LET US SHARE OUR PROBLEMS SO THAT WE CAN SOLVE THEM TOGETHER.

 

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