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Modise calls on SA women to unite across class, race, ideology lines

Modise was delivering the keynote address at the start of the Women’s Parliament took place in the National Assembly chamber on Wednesday.

FILE: The Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise on 11 June 2019. Picture: @ParliamentofRSA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise has called on South African women to unite across the lines of class, race and ideology that divide them.

Modise was delivering the keynote address at the start of the Women’s Parliament took place in the National Assembly chamber on Thursday.

The gathering’s theme was focused on tackling gender-based violence but also marked the launch of a series of provincial women’s parliaments aimed at reviewing the 1994 Women’s Charter.

Modise took the 200 delegates through the history of women’s struggles in South Africa and issued a powerful call for unity: “SA women if any time we have to stand together it’s now – it is now.”

Modise referred to communities plagued by drugs and crime, the stagnant economy and the prospect that more jobs would be lost.

“The economy is doing badly, this country might still be shedding more and more jobs. Politics says you must insult the ANC – that’s fine. Reality is that women must be economically smart – reality says you should be knowing what is happening in the world economy and prepare your families and communities for that,” she said.

Modise’s urged delegates to use women’s caucuses in Parliament and provincial legislatures to strengthen the Women’s Charter so that it can better protect women’s hard-won rights.

Delegates included representatives from all nine provincial legislatures, institutions of higher learning, the SA Local Government Association (Salga) and bodies like the Commission on Gender Equality that focused on gender issues.

It’s the first review of the Women’s Charter in 25 years.

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