Each year on the 8th of March we are reminded of the progress made towards gender equality and the challenges thereof. Since 1911, this day has served as the world’s celebration of women’s social, cultural, economic, and political achievements. This year we are asked to inspire inclusion as we reaffirm our commitment to the core idea that every woman, regardless of her upbringing or circumstances, deserves to be included, appreciated, and given the opportunity to realise their full potential. We are called to inspire future generations of women by breaking down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create environments where all women are valued and respected.

Fundamentally, International Women's Day honours the resilience of women everywhere. It is a day to pay tribute to the pioneers who tore down barriers, dispelled myths, and cleared the path for future generations. It's a day to honour the numerous ways that women have impacted society at large, ranging from the arts to the sciences. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2023, it will take 131 years to reach full gender parity. Therefore, the fight for gender equality is a continuous challenge.

A challenge that was taken by the President when he nominated a woman for the seat of Chief Justice of the Republic. Despite having outlined how gender equality will improve the economy and standards of living of households, the move by the President indicated how including women in higher leadership roles and decision-making positions can inspire other women and girls. ‘A decision to nominate her has clearly set the agenda of driving transformation anchored on women’s leadership in the country’, said the BMF Managing Director, Mr Monde Ndlovu.

This nomination speaks volumes on this International Women’s Day with one of the key pillars of #InspireInclusion as the promotion of diversity in leadership and decision-making positions. Quoted as a strong advocate of black empowerment and the uplifting of women, Judge Mandisa Maya could change the image and shape the country’s judiciary for the next 10 years. An image that was from a few years ago all white and male. An image the country has been yearning to see since her JSC interviews.

Women continue to face barriers when seeking higher leadership roles and to a great length denied the chance to reach their full potential due to persistent discrimination, abuse, and injustice. By advocating inclusion, organisations, and communities can change this image of ‘all white and male’ to an image that could harness the full potential of women, and create opportunities for women to thrive, leading to better decision-making and innovation. This inclusion will encourage everyone to recognize the contributions of women from all walks of life, including those from marginalized communities and underrepresented groups.

The theme Inspire Inclusion highlights the importance of diversity and empowerment in all aspects of society. To put this into practice, real action must be taken to remove the structural obstacles preventing women from fully flourishing. This entails that everyone must be responsible for fostering the inclusion and empowerment of women. This can be done through initiatives such as mentorship programs, educational workshops, advocacy campaigns, and providing support and resources for women to thrive. Let’s celebrate International Women’s Day working together to break down barriers in the spaces we find ourselves in. May we be like our President who has given a woman a seat to become the first woman Chief Justice, the likes of Mam Nolitha Fakude as the first female president of the BMF. All it takes is for one person to give a woman a chance, an opportunity to inspire her to reach her full potential. This will in turn build a more equitable and inclusive society for generations to come.

Let’s #InspireInclusion!


About the Author

Dikoti Masemola is a coordinator for the Advocacy, Thought-Leadership & Stakeholder Relations department at the BMF.
She holds a BCom Economics and Econometrics, as well as a BSc Hons Energy Studies from the University of Johannesburg.

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