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Minister of Women in the Presidency Susan Shabangu and Miss South Africa 2016 Ntandoyenkosi Kunene march with more than 100 schoolgirls
More than 100 schoolgirls joined forces today at the Union Buildings in Pretoria with Minister of Women in the Presidency, Susan Shabangu, and Miss South Africa 2016, Ntandoyenkosi Kunene, to honour the historic 1956 Women’s March as part of Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day.
At least 50 000 schoolgirls across South Africa were hosted today in offices and places of work as part of the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day® campaign.
In celebration of the Cell C initiative’s 14th birthday a record number of partners – a whopping 650, up from 520 in 2015 – volunteered to host schoolgirls from grade 10 to 12 this year.

The event at the Union Buildings honoured the 20 000 women of all races who marched to the Pretoria Union Buildings on August 9, 1956 to present a petition to the then prime minister J G Strijdom. In it they demanded an end to an apartheid law requiring women to carry passes. It is the 60th anniversary of this historic march, organised by the Federation of South African Women who challenged the idea that a woman’s place is in the kitchen, declaring it, instead, to be “everywhere”. Lillian Ngoyi led the march, along with other anti-apartheid legends – among them Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, Motlalepula Chabaku, Bertha Gxowa and Albertina Sisulu.

Minister Susan Shabangu hopes that this will help the young women she hosted realise that anything is possible for them, and that their place is “everywhere” in the world of work.
Said Suzette van der Merwe, Managing Executive Cell C Foundation: “We are astonished, and delighted, by the record number of partners who, by their participation, have opened the doors of learning and culture beyond the classroom.”
The Take a Girl Child to Work Day® campaign has received voluntary support at the highest level, from the President’s office, the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s office, the media and the corporate world.  All of this support continues to spark debate on the role of socio-economic development and the promotion of gender equality and empowerment.
The development of the Girl Child is part of the 12 thematic areas identified by the United Nations World Conference on Women that took place in Beijing in 1995. The Beijing Platform for Action notes that “girls are often treated as inferior and are socialised to put themselves last, thus undermining their self-esteem”.
“By supporting the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day® initiative, the girl-child is given an opportunity to explore work and professional opportunities, thereby breaking the stereo-types associated with how girls were socialised. It is a practical way of encouraging girls to strive for excellence, dream big, have strong self-esteem and know that nothing is impossible,” said Van der Merwe.
Minister Shabangu made a plea to corporate South Africa to extend the one day into a longer programme. It was important, she said, that girl children have an “actual feel of the working environment”.
“This will assist in instilling work discipline and an understanding of the value of working.”
The Cell C Foundation has challenged all its participating partners – and every other corporate or organisation – to extend the one-day into several days, or a bi-annual, or a monthly commitment.
In order to grow this initiative into a meaningful movement, Cell C established a Girl Child Bursary Fund. In partnership with The Tomorrow Trust, the fund has 30 recipients from disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds studying at various tertiary institutions across the country.
Added Van der Merwe: “We encourage all corporates to set aside at least one bursary for females every year. Should each participating company offer one young woman a bursary, hundreds of bursaries would be donated each year.”
Cell C has also established a Girl Child Institute of Mentorship under the patronage of Dolly Mokgatle, Executive Director of Peotona Holdings. The institute matches Cell C female executives and senior managers with bursary recipients and is an important element of ensuring sustainable empowerment of the Girl Child beyond a “one-day” exposure to the working environment.

Other Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day® events that took place today:

Thuli Madonsela, Public Protector, once again took part in the initiative. Tshepiso Matsepe and Bontle Makula, whose interests lie in politics and the law, were hosted at her offices.
Basetsana Kumalo, businesswoman and co-owner of Tswelopele Productions, mentored Naledi Mogajane and Fatima Doucoure whose interest is television production and entrepreneurship.
Dolly Mokgatle, executive director of Peotona Holdings, met with Ziyanda Dlamini and Lebogang Ngwaradi, both who have a keen interest in business.

Siza Mzimela, chief executive officer of aviation company Fly Blue Crane, gave her aviation insights to Thando Lukhele and Jessica Mhlanga who would like to become pilots.
Ferial Haffajee, editor of City Press, hosted Nonhlanhla Ngcobo and Mpho Mahlape who wanted to learn about the media and writing.
Leanne Manas, SABC 2 Morning Live news anchor, welcomed Zamokhule Zwane and Tshiamo Mazibuko.
Phuti Mahanyele, executive chairperson of Sigma Capital, hosted Tshegofatso Modiga and Lufuno Mongui.
Sophie Ndaba, actress, interior designer and events manager, spent the day with Beauty Mtshali and Thato Makgokolo.
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