Celebrating won’t bring change, decisive action will

By Abigail Dawson


Social media has been abuzz this week with Banyana Banyana proudly winning the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations and qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. A triumph Bafana Bafana has struggled to match. Gender pay gaps don’t reflect this reality.


Celebrations of Banyana Banyana’s winnings were soon dampened and continued gender disparities made glaring with the announcement of bonus pay structures for their achievement. Each Banyana Banyana player is said to receive R400000.00 for reaching the highest level of competition on the continent. While in 2019, Bafana Bafana players, the South Africa men’s soccer team, each got paid R520000 for reaching the quarterfinals of in the Africa Cup of Nations.


This has once again made stark gender disparities in South Africa at higher levels of stardom. What does this mean for women who go by without any spotlight in their places of work and caregiving? We will celebrate Women’s Day in August, a commemoration of the bravery and collective action of women in fighting against pass books, which further legitimised the apartheid states control of black people in urban areas. What this struggle has galvanised is an increasingly unequal and discriminate world.


Womanhood can no longer be synonymous with struggle. This spotlight moment seems archaic, again revealing the undervaluation of women’s work which is usually compounded by unpaid care work as primary caregivers in many homes.


Arundhati Roy writes: There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.


It can no longer be up to women, alone, to make themselves heard equally. Rather those that prefer to hear, or deliberately silence should remove the veil from their ears and eyes and take decisive action to improve the conditions of women in work, community and churches.


May this moment stir in you an opportunity to look deeper and act. Are there policies or pay gaps within your place of work, community or place of worship that need to be challenged? Do you have the power to make these changes? How may you mobilise others to realise a more equal place for everyone?

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