Women’s Month is an annual celebration observed in South Africa to honour and recognise the contributions, achievements, and resilience of the over 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest the legislation that was aimed at black women.
In an event to commemorate and celebrate women, Safe Hub in Alexandra hosted a Women’s Day event intended to help women balance mental health and well-being in the workplace.
“Today we decided to have a little chilled session for the ladies that work within the NGO spaces in Alex for Women’s Month. This year we decided to focus on mental health and wellness because we’re working so hard, especially in Alex. Working in Alex is very difficult and quite emotionally exhausting, so we thought women needed space to just chill out, get to know each other, and do some yoga without the usual ‘be strong as a woman’ because the whole term of being strong is tiring so today we just wanted to relax,” Safe hub coordinator Mandy Lombo said.
As this month serves as a platform to highlight the progress made in women’s rights, and gender equality, women addressed the challenges that they still continue to face that affect their mental well-being.
“As women, we keep being told we are strong, we got this, we are boss ladies, so sometimes we feel a little guilty when we are struggling with our mental health; that it means you are weak, and you are not doing your best. So, women tend to hide their struggles to appear strong. Because they still want to uphold that girl boss title and avoid being judged by others. We are definitely still pushing for women to be liberated from their mental struggles,” Lombo said.
Silindile Gumede from Khulisa Social Solutions one of the attendees enjoyed the experience and commented that she would like an experience like this again.
“Today we had a wellness day for women; it was very insightful, and I enjoyed mingling with the other ladies and participating in the physical activities. We were trying to balance workplace stressors and mental health.
“I liked the part where the psychologist from Rays of Hope was emphasising that mental health goes side by side with mental illness. If you don’t take care of your mental health, you are bound to have a mental illness. So, it’s important to take care of yourself and listen to your body and mind. Take care of yourself and soldier on as there are a lot of challenges in life that need you to be resilient so you mustn’t lose the spark.”
Lombo concluded that she wanted women to experience a safe space for them to get to know each other as there are usually misconceptions that say when you find a bunch of women together it’s only gossip. She added that the day was just a chance for women to build relationships and work together.