Marlene
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Eyewitness News marks Women’s month by celebrating women in South Africa who are breaking the traditional barriers to careers and interests. Read, listen and watch our collection of inspiring stories of women who are carving out legacies in what can at times still very much be “a man’s world.” Do you have a similar story? Then share it with us.

"I found my piece of sunshine"

Marlene le Roux is the Director of Audience Development and Education at the Artscape theatre. She is disabled as a result of contracting polio as an infant and is a champion of rights for the disabled.

Le Roux is also the mother of two children, one of whom - her son - has cerebral palsy.

"I made a decision ... either I am going to be a victim or I'm going to to make it for myself. No one wants to listen to a sad story."

"Don't think that because I'm a director at a place that I'm also not put in a box.

Every day is a battle, because women are still seen as a lesser being - even in management. So, it's extremely important to let your voice be heard. Our time has not yet come."

"As a director it's important that I see my role; not just to see that I have arrived at a company.

I need to pave the way; that proper systems need to be there for women to climb that ladder ... that they don't need to just smile and to be nice to men in order for them to be a director ... that they can be critical and that they can be themselves."

"The mechanisms need to be there; the tools at the workplace need to be there (so that) persons with disabilities have access to work.

It can't just be on paper. That's why it is very sad to me that so few persons with a disability are being employed."

"(Disabled) people are waiting for a job. They are qualified to do the job and not just to be a receptionist or to count something.

People are waiting to be put in their rightful place ... I got the opportunity and I made the best of it in order to pave the way for persons with disabilities."

" I am not going to be boxed ... if you are going to put me in a box, that's your problem."

"If I only see my role on a platform and talking about women's issues, then I'm only a walking 'talk shop' and that needs to change. We must make a difference where we are and walk that talk."

"Although we have a ministry that needs to oversee and monitor women and children with disability, we don't need monitoring and evaluation tools anymore. We need implementation of basic needs ... access to a wheelchair, access to caregivers, access to healthcare.

If you are poor and disabled, I can say to you it is a horror."

"I use my own experiences in order to look at how to assist; to make people understand you can't implement policy or you can't write policy if you don't have the proper stakeholders with whom to consult with in order to write policies and the implementation thereof."

"What is it that I can influence in the workplace and people that pass through my life, and how do I equip young women in order for them to take charge of their own lives?"

"I am one of 11. You either swim or you are going to be forgotten in that household. My upbringing with my siblings, my aunts and my uncles ... I had really strong role models. I could at least develop myself and see that I need to make a way for myself."

"If I can use my experiences just to challenge the policies a little bit. I'm not a technocrat. I'm living with a disability."