Women ambassadors celebrate their day

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Wathinti' abafazi wathint' imbokodo reverberated at the Presidential Guest House in Pretoria, as women ambassadors and high commissioners gathered to celebrate International Women's Day.

Former and current ambassadors and high commissioners spread across South Africa's missions abroad, were steadfast in their resolve to continue advancing gender equality in the world.

They also resolved to represent SA's foreign policies and strategies to ensure the world became a safe environment for girl children to prosper.

Leading the celebrations, Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Sue van der Merwe first hailed the progressive women of 1956, who marched to the Union Buildings to demand an end to apartheid draconian laws.

"...[SA women] marched to the Union Buildings from all corners of our land in protest against the erosion of their rights and they declared in their much quoted lines to the then Prime Minister: 'Strydom, you have tampered with women, you have struck a rock'," she said, much to the ululation of the women.

"Were it not for those brave women and work of women's movements in South Africa over the decades, I doubt whether we would all be here today," said Ms Van Der Merwe.

The deputy minister said women ambassadors and high commissioner wherever they were, should encourage dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflicts to further SA's foreign policy of "creating a better Africa and better world."

"Moreover, in line with South Africa's position, wherever in the world we find ourselves, we should at all time encourage dialogue and peaceful negotiations to problems and to lobby for a multilateral approach to world affairs," she told the women.

However, there are still challenges facing women in a world.

To overcome such challenges, Ms van der Merwe said the outcomes of conference of Status of Women in New York, Beijing Declaration and platform for action and the convention against all forms of discrimination against women should guide women in the quest for gender equality.

Richard Mantu - BuaNews

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