Weekly Reflection from CPLO and the Jesuit Institute Week of 22 August 2016

by Russell Pollitt SJ

The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race.  Susan B. Anthony

August is “Women’s Month” in South Africa. It is a fitting month to celebrate women because it pays  tribute to the thousands of women who, in August 1956, marched on the Union Buildings to protest against the extension of the so-called “pass laws” to women. It was a moment in which the women of South Africa took a prophetic stance. They stood firmly for a non-racial, non-sexist society.

Although we have taken steps to making their vision a reality, we cannot deny that we still have a long way to go. Many women are still not treated as equals. Many women still suffer immensely due to the patriarchal social, economic, cultural and religious systems which, when all is said and done, still favour men.

“Women’s Month” can easily become just another label on the calendar. Equality is sadly still something we have not realized, something which is just a hope for many women. Prophetic voices, of men and women, still need to rise up, like they did in 1956, to move us closer to the vision and hope we have. In what ways can you be prophetic in what’s left of “Women’s Month”?


Loving God,
You created men and women in your own image and likeness.
You created men and women to work together to bring about your vision for us and our world.
Sadly, we have not always remembered and honoured what you desire for us.
Helps us to be reawakened to your vision; fill us with courage and determination to work tirelessly so that your kingdom of justice and equality can be realized in our midst.

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Institute and is interested in the impact that communications technology has on society and spirituality. He regularly comments on South African Politics and various issues in the Catholic Church.

director@jesuitinstitute.org.za @rpollittsj
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