It’s Women’s Month. Moreover, the Malée Natural Science team has been celebrating strong female role models since the beginning of August. In fact, we like to celebrate and promote women’s equality every chance we get.
We may perhaps be best known for our African-inspired bath and body beauty products and fragrances, but as a proudly female-owned company, we also put female empowerment front and centre in everything we do.
In South Africa, National Women’s Day is celebrated on the 9th of August. It is a date which commemorates a march that occurred on the same day in 1956. When 20 000 women of all races made their way to the Union Buildings to present minister JG Strijdom. With a petition of 100 000+ signatures condemning the controversial pass laws enforced by Apartheid government.
After handing over the petition peacefully, the women stood outside the Union Buildings. In complete silence for 30 minutes to show their resolve. Today, this ground-breaking march is still synonymous with the verve and determination of the women of South Africa’s rainbow nation. Where women’s equality is a controversial topic to this day.
For instance, despite the presence of constitutional rights and enabling legislation to prevent workplace gender discrimination, South Africa continues to see a stagnant median gender pay gap of between 23% and 35%. Additionally, gender-based violence remains a major issue – according to statistics, a woman is killed in South Africa every three hours.
This is a rather grim picture, but there are silver linings to be found in the mist of the ongoing struggle. In celebration of the tenacity of African women, we give props to three of our favourite trailblazers here today. This includes:
Chebet Lesan exemplifies a new breed of African women entrepreneurs venturing into male-dominated fields. This Kenyan trailblazer is the founder of BrightGreen Renewable Energy, which has a production facility and has sold 500 tons of briquettes made from organic waste since its March 2016 launch. Lesan was inspired to start the enterprise after attending an MIT design conference in Tanzania on renewable energy. Today, 80% of BrightGreen distributers are female as well.
Nomuntu Ndhlovu is managing director and part owner of SiyaBuddy Recycling and Waste Management in Steenbok Village in Nkomazi Municipality in South Africa. This business recycle 50+ tonnes of waste from 52 villages every month. They employee 500+ collectors who were previously unemployed.
Dr Odette Curtis-Scott
Dr Odette Curtis-Scott started the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust in 2012 after she started researching Renosterveld management in 2007. She and her team works to protect the 5% of the endemic Overberg Renosterveld that remains today, after the remainder was inched out over many years of habitat transformation, mainly due to expanding farmland. It’s quite the tall order in a traditionally male farming environment, but Odette has been making great inroads nonetheless.
Thank you for the great work you’re doing to pave the way for women’s equality, ladies – we salute you! A luta continua – the struggle continues! Keep doing the good work; we’ll be cheering you on from the side lines and doing what we can to further the cause ourselves.
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