As we continue to celebrate and uplift the phenomenal women who surround us this Women’s Month, we also remember those who marched in protest against the Pass Laws in 1956. South African women of all races, creeds and cultures marched united to fight the unjust apartheid laws. To recognise and appreciate the achievements of the past, it is our duty, to rise and continue the resistance against gender inequalities.

There has been an incredible amount of progress in South Africa since the transition of the apartheid rule to a democratic society in 1994, however, class, race, and gender-based discrimination remain prevalent in our society.

There are still many barriers to overcome to ensure that all girls and women are empowered to stand up for their safety, know their rights, and are afforded equal access to resources and opportunities at home and in the workplace.

History depicts many inequalities and biases against women, such as the restriction on movement and travel. Countless women from across the globe tirelessly fought and continue to be activists for fair and equal treatment for women. It is thanks to these pioneers that women can travel, explore, create, work and more.

Thank these women by harnessing opportunities that many were once denied. Lead a life of example, so our girls, who are the women of our future, are inspired to continue the struggle for women’s empowerment.

Remember, the words from the resistance song at the Women’s Day march of 1956, “Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo / You strike a woman, you strike a rock.”

These quotes from inspirational women around the world should remind you that women are strong and courageous.

“My wish for women is that they understand that they are extremely powerful and that it is their responsibility to take over from where the women of 1956 left off,”

Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi

“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.”

Mae Jemison, the first African-American female to travel in space.

“I am magic, I know it, I own it, I walk it”

Malebo Sephodi, South African Award-winning author.

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”

Maya Angelou, poet.

“Anybody can be an explorer if they want to be. You can be an astronaut if you want. Figure out what you want to do, and then go do it.”

Helen Thayer, the first woman to travel solo to the magnetic North Pole.

“It is confidence in our bodies, minds and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures, new directions to grow in, and new lessons to learn — which is what life is all about.”

Oprah Winfrey, TV personality.

“If you are to free yourselves you must break the chains of oppression yourselves. Only then can we express our dignity, only when we have liberated ourselves can we co-operate with other groups. Any acceptance of humiliation, indignity or insult is acceptance of inferiority.”

South African freedom fighter, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

“Hope is that little spark that gives you faith in the possibility of a future that seems unattainable.”

Former Public Protector, Adv. Thuli Madonsela

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”

Michelle Obama