South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday joined the rest of the world to celebrate International Women’s Day, commending the role women have played in the country during the coronavirus pandemic in the past year.Addressing the nation in his weekly message, Ramaphosa thanked the women leading civil society organisations who have worked and continue to work with the Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Coronavirus in driving a holistic approach to managing the pandemic which has killed over 50,000 people.
“We salute the resilience and bravery of women frontline workers who have worked to fight the pandemic as nurses, doctors, emergency personnel, police and soldiers,” Ramaphosa said.
He said there could be no meaningful progress for women if society continued to relegate them to “traditional” professions, occupations or roles, while mainly men sat on decision-making structures at the women’s expense.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the many women who have worked as teachers, principals, lecturers and as administrators at institutions of higher learning.
“Women doctors, researchers and scientists have played and continue to play an important role in our epidemiological response,” Ramaphosa said.
He noted that South Africa’s experience during the pandemic “has once more demonstrated women’s capacity to organise, collaborate, lead and achieve.”
“Through their actions, they have demonstrated there is no such thing as ‘a woman’s place’.”
This year’s International Women’s Day is themed “Women’s Leadership and Achieving an Equal Future in a Covid-19 World.”