Sixty years after the historic Women’s March against pass laws under the “murderous” apartheid regime‚ women in South Africa still find themselves restricted and unsafe in communities‚ the Economic Freedom Fighters says.

The party was commenting on the 60th anniversary of the protest march to the Union Buildings in 1956 in which more than 20‚000 women‚ led by Lilian Ngoyi‚ Helen Joseph‚ Rahima Moosa‚ Sophia Williams and Frances Barde‚ took part.

“60 years later‚ women in our country still find themselves restricted and unsafe in our communities. As a point of departure‚ the levels of violence against women in both domestic and public spaces reproduce the restrictions on their freedoms that the pass laws represented. It is a fact that rape is still the patriarchal tool to shame‚ silence and reduce women as simply subservient to men‚” the EFF said.

It said the South African society had not reflected on the objectification of women and their treatment as mere objects of sexual desire.

“We have not reflected on women’s image as tools of beauty to be consumed in a society dominated by patriarchal men. Society has not transcended the reality that women are more than their looks‚ and the reduction to their bodies constitute the basis for why they are abused and silenced.

“Economically‚ women still earn far less than their male counterparts for the same jobs that they do. This is despite the fact that in many matric results‚ the girl child performs better than the boy child. This proves that the salary inequalities have no basis in actual intellectual performance‚ but the fact that they are women. In rural South Africa‚ women are not allowed to own land‚ which restricts access to break from the cycles of poverty and landlessness in their lives‚” the EFF said.

It added: “On the 60th Anniversary of the 1956 Women’s March‚ the EFF calls on all companies and state departments to review salaries and give women the same salaries that men receive for the same jobs. We further call on the government to immediately provide free sanitary towels‚ particularly for the poor‚ in the same scale and availability as they do with free condoms.

“Finally‚ the EFF believes that women’s economic emancipation is the first genuine step towards the ending of patriarchy; thus‚ the attainment of economic freedom in our lifetime is essential to the struggle against patriarchy.”