The celebrations also represent a call to action for the world to address issues around women’s rights. As International Women’s Day 2021 approaches, individuals and groups will celebrate and rally for gender equality under the theme ‘Choose To Challenge’.
For the average person, the global celebration is a day women celebrate one another. This is erroneous. To further appreciate the celebration, it will be nice to step back to its origin.
Who Started International Women’s Day?
The first glimpse of International Women’s Day dates back over a century. It started out in America in 1909 when the Socialist Party celebrated 15,000 women. These women comprised a group who protested long work hours, lack of voting rights, and low pay in New York City. The initiators originally dubbed it the National Women’s Day, and the celebration spread globally in 1911.
Why do we celebrate Women’s Day on March 8?
Although the celebration originated in America, it was the Russians who set the March 8 trend. On March 8, 1917, Russian women came out in their tens of thousands to protest what they felt was an unfavorable system. This unified movement eventually led to Russian women being granted voting rights soon after. Ever since, the world celebrates women on March 8.
What Activities are Done on Women’s Day?
On International Women’s Day, individuals and women’s rights groups engage in myriads of activities. Since the birth of social media, these groups have been battling the global online community by highlighting the positive things women are doing in their respective fields. They have also been calling for the enactment and implementation of laws that guarantee women’s rights worldwide.
Offline, too, these groups carry out voluntary initiatives such as conferences, seminars, and symposia, discussing issues relating to women. Other activities include voluntary gifting of pads to less-privileged women, provision of maternity relief materials, etc. Some groups have been talking about International Women’s Day 2021 online. See some of these conversations.
On #InternationalWomensDay CBBC’s Newsround is airing their first ever special about periods.
“Let’s Talk About Periods” is aiming to break taboos and myths about them. It will also talk to children about period poverty. It’s on Monday at 7pm.
— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) March 5, 2021
Ahead of Monday’s #InternationalWomensDay, a new virtual exhibit from @UN_Women showcases the stories of women leading by example to change the places of power, end violence, achieve #GenerationEquality & more. https://t.co/dZAQzy8Shf pic.twitter.com/rRjM4I2UKc
— United Nations (@UN) March 5, 2021
Who is Anna Phosa?
In line with the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day celebration, we examine the work of one of Africa’s foremost businesswomen, Anna Phosa. In a continent that consistently tries to limit what a woman can do, Anna Phosa continues to break bounds. She chose to challenge the dominance of males in the African business domain—and she is excelling.
To date, Anna Phosa is the only black woman to own a commercial pig farm in South Africa. With her drive and clear vision, she has built a successful multi-million dollar business, earning her a place among South Africa’s top agripreneurs. Since 2004, she has scaled her business, Dreamland Piggery and Abattoirs, to a top agricultural business in South Africa.
Anna Phosa was born in the rural village of Boukenhouthek, Johannesburg. After a few years, she lost her dad and grew up with her mom and seven siblings. Because of the loss of her dad, she had to drop out of school to help in the family’s upkeep. Coming from humble beginnings in the Free State, she had to navigate a cruel world in her quest to rise to the top. Today, she stands tall as the Managing Director of Dreamland Piggery and Abattoir. Neither tragedy nor circumstance nor motherhood has stopped Anna Phosa, and she intends to keep going.
Anna Phosa’s Rise: An Inspiration for Young African Women
Like many women all over the world, Anna Phosa found herself in a world that was averse to her success. Growing up in the deeply patriarchal hinterlands of South Africa, she braved all negative notions about women to become a role model for many. But how did she achieve this?
In 2004, in the Vaal area of Johannesburg, she bought some land from her savings in order to plant vegetables. These vegetables were for sale within the community. Anna still worked as a part-time staff for her husband’s business. In 2006, however, things changed for Anna and her family. After buying two pigs from a friend, she went into pig farming. According to her, she went into farming with a burning desire and a willingness to learn.
“I learned a lot from the people in the industry and the department of agriculture also provided some support.”
Starting out in 2004 with only $100 and four pigs, she had her fair share of challenges. Speaking to CNBC, she acknowledged that these challenges almost weighed her down, but her push to succeed kept her going.
Meet Sowetan Anna Phosa, SA’s only female black commercial pig farmer. Her company, Dreamland Piggery & Abattoir in the Vaal, was started in 2004 with 4 piglets and has gone on to secure a multimillion rand contract and supply Pick n Pay with pigs 🐖 — Business Day #SlayNationSA pic.twitter.com/cAsuFlx1w7
— Slay Nation SA 🇿🇦 (@SlayNationSA) June 19, 2018
In 2010, she signed a contract with Pick ‘n Pay, a South-African retailing conglomerate. Two years later, she signed another deal worth R25 million ($1.9 million). The contract helped Anna raise capital to fund her current 350-hectare farm. Today, her farm rears over 5,000 pigs employing hundreds of staff.
Undoubtedly, Anna Phosa’s rise to wealth is a deviation from the expectation of women in Africa. Most times, African societies simply want women to marry and bear children. However, as the world gears up to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, it is our role as global citizens to promote an equal world where everyone respects and upholds women’s rights.
As we fight against gender inequalities, there are many ways in which the world can produce many more Anna Phosas. Firstly, young African women need to make the conscious decision not to conform to queer societal expectations. Using your social media platforms to raise awareness may seem like a small act but will go a long way in awakening other women to think differently. So, how do you plan to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021? Let us know in the comment section.