To celebrate Women’s Day, we asked our dynamic team here at MPC, from across all backgrounds, ethnicities and ages, to voice their views and opinions on this empowering day dedicated to them.
Kehly Windvogel - Team Leader, MPC3
Q: Who's work do you admire in relation to women's rights and equality?
On August 9, 1956, South African women from all walks of life took to the streets of Pretoria to march in protest for the rights and equality of women across the nation. Leading this march were four women who we tend to sometimes forget. They were Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia Williams – De Bruyn. These four women had one common goal; equality for all women, not just those in power, not just those of colour; all of us. Tall, short, black, white, degreed, non-degreed. These are the kinds of women I look to as influencers of our country.
The mother of our nation Winnie Madikizela – Mandela once said; “You strike a woman, you strike a rock.” And I think that those words have never reigned more accurately than they do right now.
Since March 2020, I have watched the women of our nation come together to make sure that we come out of this terrible time better and stronger than ever. From our doctors and nurses to our teachers, those mothers at home, and those who are social media influencers. All of these women (and so many more) have not let anything get in the way of them achieving goals for themselves and others, for their children, their families, their friends and even strangers. And all because in 1956, four women decided to take their place in history and live with dignity.
So when I was asked whose work for women’s rights and equality I admire, I can’t just pinpoint one. I think of every woman who has gone through some or other struggle to make a better life for the generation that follow them.
Today, I’d like every woman to look to themselves as the biggest influencer of life and remember that you can and should make a difference. Most importantly, don’t forget, you’re a rock!!
Shreya Singh - Financial Controller, Head Office
Q: Which women are you inspired by globally?
“We realise the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” - Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is an activist, advocate for girls' education, champion of human rights and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner. Her words and actions offer inspiration to many young women across the world, as she fights towards equal rights for an education and against the suppression of children. At only 12 years old, she blogged for BBC and at 15, she survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban.
Malala Yousafzai inspires me because of her selfless devotion to fight for peace and fair education for all. For me, an inspirational woman is a leader who can fill someone with the desire to do something bigger than one’s self, in order to create a better world for all. Just like Malala, we need to breakdown gender stereotypes to inspire women to dream bigger than the ceilings set by any suppressive society.
Together we can create a world where all women can learn and lead.
Mulalo Masungwini - Team Leader, MPC1
Q: What does Women’s Day mean to you?
Women’s Day means that I can unapologetically be myself and get recognised and appreciated for that. In a world that has labelled and set standards as to what and who they consider to be a woman or how a woman should act, this day is created to give me validation that I can be whoever I want to be and that alone is ENOUGH.
With all the gender-based violence and the daily abduction of women happening in our society, it is beautiful to see that women are still highly appreciated to the point that there is a day dedicated each year to show women that they are loved.
I am who I think I am, and I can be loud, soft-spoken, outgoing or even shy - this does not change the fact that I am a woman and a force that can be reckoned with.
Julia Greenaway - Centre Manager, MPC6
Q: What role or impact would you like to play in relation to women's rights, today?
Women take the lead in helping the family adjust, and in the current circumstances we are living in; this is fundamental. The women of the modern world boast multiple roles; and more often than not, we do this alone. I’d like to recognise all women for their skills in adaptability!
Chivah Jones - Recruitment Consultant, MPC5
Q: What do you believe will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
In the past, women were only homemakers and dedicated their lives to ensuring a clean house; food on the table and that their families were well looked after in all respects. However, today’s women are doing this as well as working full time to maintain a comfortable standard of living. I believe that this will be something that women will endure for some time to come.
Work-life balance is something that many people struggle with. However, as women, we tend to have the need to ensure that everything is “absolutely perfect” in every way. Women also experience the guilt that comes with mainting a career at the expense of maintaining a household.
I think the biggest challenge for women in the generation behind me will be achieving a good work-life balance.
Anthea Barendilla - Quality Assurance, MPC2
Q: What does it mean to be a woman in the part of the world and society you live in?
When I think of this question, I am reminded of the book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, ‘We Should All Be Feminist’, where the author talks about being a woman in the African context. It resonated with me as what it means to be a woman differs across the world - our culture, upbringing and so many other factors contribute to how we see women. I think that many of us, myself included, do not want to be tied down by societal ideas of what a woman should be, but should instead be celebrated.
To quote from the book, “I have chosen to be no longer apologetic for my femininity. And I want to be respected in all my femaleness. Because I deserve to be”, to me, this sums up what it means to be a woman; there is no one thing, we shouldn’t be classified, we should be allowed to be whatever we so choose and be respected for the woman we choose to be.
If I had to think of one word that describes what it means to be a woman, it has to be strength. Throughout the years women had the strength and fortitude to overcome many uphill battles. Whether this is in our personal lives or fighting for social and political justice. When I think about this, I feel proud to be a woman. I can be “unapologetically” female because of the legacy of so many strong women that have paved the path for me.
Lizelle Domingo - Team Leader, MPC2
Q: What privileges or challenges do woman stereotypically face?
Stereotypical challenges women face on a daily basis is the fact that there are still positions in the work place that are solely reserved for men.
Most of us are professional working mothers and most of the time our partners leave the discipline of the children and the running of the household to us. This is a huge obstacle, but time and time again we have proven to overcome it!
The one privilege I can think of is the national celebration of Women’s Day. This is a day dedicated just for us, where we are celebrated as women, mothers, sisters, daughters and wives. We have really come a long way from being meek to being the strong-willed, professional, independent, yet humble women we are today.
Every year, the role of women evolve, and this alone is reason for an annual celebration!
Q: What taboos relating to women do you wish were broken?
Sindy Pillay - OPS Manager, MPC4
The biggest for me, is social taboos. Women have been the oppressed class when compared to men, and historically women have always been considered socially and financially inferior to men.
In some societies, the social position of women is low. Women are dependent on the men in their families and are not allowed to make decisions or be independent based on cultural beliefs.
This aids to subjugate women further. Hence, many social taboos mire women. I believe that we deserve an equal opportunity to be our best selves without asking for or needing permission to do so.