AS THE country closed women’s month on Wednesday, the Democratic Alliance Women’s Network (Dawn) in the Buffalo City region celebrated the historic women’s march of 1956 at the Buffalo Flats Cricket Club.
Also attending the celebrations was Dawn national leader Denise Robinson and provincial chairwoman Celeste Barker.
Robinson said the DA was committed to growing the network’s membership and developing women into leadership positions.
“Dawn has been set up to educate and to develop, to influence their spaces and to even be councillors should they wish to do so,” Robinson said.
Speaking on the notably low representation of women in mayoral committees across DA-governed metros, Robinson said Dawn wanted to increase the number of women in positions of power.
“We always go to selection panels and do what we can to make sure that women are selected within the process. If one looks at the number of councillors that we have, there is a visible increase.
“I certainly lobby for women – I sit in the selection panel and we are all aware that we need to grow more,” Robinson said.
The women included some of the PR and ward councillors of the party.
The women also listened to a presentation from the Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre’s Bertha Kelly, who said the ultimate realisation of human rights in South Africa would be achieved through strong activism to claim and realise women’s human rights.
“The world needs to be active in providing an environment where women are equal,” Kelly said.
Robinson emphasised the importance of influence even at local leadership level.
“Its not only in high positions that one can influence – in local positions like the council, women can influence,” Robinson said.
She further called for the state to focus on increasing access to sexual offences courts and ensuring they were adequately funded. —