Rural women suffer most

TOUGH LIFE: Women in rural areas need assistance.
TOUGH LIFE: Women in rural areas need assistance.

I DESPERATELY waited for Women's Month to raise issues affecting the majority of rural women .

We should unmask the hypocrisy and question the celebrations and speeches that characterise the day every year.

The plight of rural women persists regardless of the 1956 Women's March, democracy and the holiday dedicated to them.

When their sophisticated urban sisters demand balanced gender representation and roles in senior management, prominence in politics, economy and social spheres, rural women plead for water and health services.

The establishment of the Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities raised hopes for rural women and we thought projects would be prioritised to facilitate their development and improve their livelihood.

This month is undeserving of celebration if there are still women who live in destitution, abuse and vulnerability.

The economic independence of disadvantaged women, improvement of educational opportunities and nonviolence against women will be realised only when programmes are implemented.

The extensive gap between rural and urban women is evident. There are probably no well-defined strategies in place to reduce or discontinue disparities between them.

It is misrepresentative to assume that SA's top-20 rating of women advancement in Africa and the world also reflects our rural women.

They have been reduced to "domestic cooks" in charge of managing the household , while they are capable of being agents of self-development, peace-keeping and social organisations .

They want government backing to advance projects and harness skills for sustainability.

There are social clubs, agricultural projects, small businesses etc in most villages initiated by women.

The challenges rural women face are common to all women . They are left to care for families and lack the skills to overcome poverty and HIV-Aids.

The government must commit itself to developing rural women.

Celebrations should be consistent with tangible breakthroughs and women empowerment.

Speeches must translate into programmes.

Mashao Mohale, Olievenhoutbosch

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