30 – 31 July & 08 August 2018

“Celebrating a Legacy of Liberation by the Pan African Women: Taking Forward the Struggle for Gender Equality”


The Pan African Women’s Day will commemorate the Pan African Women’s Day “PAWD” on 30 – 31 July 2018 at Freedom Park, Pretoria in the Gauteng Province under the theme: “Celebrating a Legacy of Liberation by the Pan African Women: Taking Forward the Struggle for Gender Equality”.

PAWD celebrations pay tribute to women and their role in the liberation struggle. This year’s celebration coincides with the centenary of struggle icon Mama Albertina Sisulu and the centenary of the Bantu Women’s League in South Africa.

The Bantu Women’s League later appended itself to the African National Congress and was known thus taking the form of the African National Congress women’s League “ANCWL”. In 1956 this formation amongst other women formations in South Africa led a monumental march, wherein they declared: “We shall not rest until we have won for our children freedom, justice and security.”

PAWD takes place against a backdrop of an increase in the levels of violence and brutality against women and children in our society. Since the start of the year, a number of incidents of violence and women abuse have made headlines across the African Continent.

This year’s event also takes place against a backdrop of a major economic development on the African continent the adoption of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which will cover a market of 1.2 billion people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion, across all 55 member States of the African Union.  In terms of numbers of participation countries, AfCFTA will be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization.

Invariably, women are the most affected by the economic decline and bear the brunt of its resultant negative economic and social effects. As such the plight of women in the context of the AfCFTA requires contextualisation.

President Paul Kagame the current AU Chairperson has also made Gender empowerment and Equality a focal point of his tenure. During a High Level Meeting on the Margins of the 31st AU Summit in Nouckchott, Mauritania, he lamented: “There are no losers. When women advance, everyone benefits. The key principle, in addition to understanding gender equality as a human right, is to use the talents of all our people to the full potential, in politics, business and elsewhere. This is common sense if we want to advance and improve our societies.”

The 2018 celebrations will also discuss how Women on the continent can leverage on South Africa’s recent election onto the UN Security Council. To this end PAWO will use this occasion to consolidate its position on plight of Palestine and the liberation of Western Sahara.

This year marks the 56th anniversary of the PAWO’s formation on 31 July 1962, one year before the OAU, it is recognized as an important part of the unification process as it brought African women freedom fighters of together on the need for peace and unity.

The celebrations will also include the Continental Dialogues on Violence against Women to help combat the continued scourge of violent attacks and abuse against women. The dialogues are a platform for building a strong women’s movement



During July we honour the women of our Continent ·         We celebrate PAN AFRICAN WOMEN’S DAY as a tribute to women in the liberation struggle.

·         The women of 1962 set the tone for gender equality, empowerment and decolonisation of the African continent.

·         Through their brave actions women have taken their rightful place in parliaments, governments and civil society.

·         Through their sacrifices we now live in a country which recognises women as equal citizens, with equal rights and responsibilities.

·         Pan African Women’s Day will also see us creating platforms to rejuvenate continental efforts towards women’s social and economic emancipation.

Together we can fight abuse against women and children.


·         All African Union States must act to prevent abuse and to ensure a safer society for women and children.

·         We can and must do more to prevent violence against women, support survivors of abuse and bring perpetrators to justice.

·         Through our collective efforts we can create greater awareness; reduce the number of sexual offences and attacks on women and children.

·         Continental protocols alone cannot eradicate this scourge.

·         PAWO calls upon all sectors to partner with it in creating safer communities.

·         Gender equality is one of the basic principle and foundation in our decolonial struggle.

Join the dialogue to end violence against women and children. ·         The Dialogues will bring the scourge of violence against women and children to the fore.

·         This is an opportunity to reposition PAWO as a powerhouse for Women, Peace and Security in Africa

·         The dialogues will include public education and awareness raising.

·         All issues that might be the causes of or contribute to violence will be unravelled through the dialogues.

Pan African Women’s Organisation is advancing the empowerment of women


·         Assert the implementation of policies tool to ensure the full participation of women in the economy and driving an inclusive economy.

·         The promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment is central to our efforts to combat poverty and stimulate sustainable development.

·         Pan African Women’s Organisation introduced the Gender Equality Bill to accelerate the empowerment of women and attain 50/50 gender parity for the country.

·         Empowerment of women is everyone’s business and needs the support of Pan African Women’s Organisation, business, labour and civil society.

·         Let us all work to remove the barriers which prevent women from entering and thriving in the labour market.

Gender equality is at the heart of our transformation. ·         The Continental Policy Framework for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality ensures that gender equality is at the centre of our transformation process.

·         It assists to eradicate the legacy of apartheid and to transform the rest of society, particularly the transformation of power relations between women and men.

·         We are working to overcome the triple challenges of inequality, unemployment and poverty which contribute to the root causes of violence against women.

African Union has made strides to advance women in our country. ·         In some states strides have been made to ensure that women enjoy the same rights as their male counterparts in education, employment, property, inheritance and justice.

·         It includes greater representation in politics, the judiciary, corporate boards and an overall improvements in livelihoods for women and mothers in our rural areas.

·         Continental policy tools have led to an increase to the access of girls in education, particular at a primary and early childhood development level in some states.

·         Following the AFCTA, legislation must be created to women, to improve their participation in the economy.

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