AS WE celebrate Women's Month we should be conscious of the suffering of women - young and old. We have to ensure that women's emancipation becomes a reality.
Rural women face unemployment, poverty , little or no education , insufficient and inadequate services and they are not represented in most decision- and policy-making structures.
Women should take the lead in creating conditions that will ensure that infrastructure and social amenities are provided.
Rural women need to be the primary beneficiaries of government programmes for development, agricultural support and land reform.
All South Africans must ensure that women are liberated from centuries of land deprivation. We should persist in ensuring that the government makes women major beneficiaries of state programmes.
There are many challenges still facing women, though much progress has been made since 1994 through various initiatives and legislation.
More women now have access to housing, education, health, free basic water and electricity. But more needs to be done, especially for rural women.
Advancing women will reduce inequality, improve the lives of women and the youth, provide markets for their goods , reverse rural-urban migration by providing employment opportunities and, in general, stimulate the rural economy.
The government and private sector must ensure that woman are empowered.
Tshepo Diale, GaRankuwa