Over 250 women leaders and influencers, including Zanele Mbeki attended the inaugural ‘Legacy Dialogue by South African Women Leaders’ on Friday 13 August 2010 in Sandton and ten hours of discussions and presentations saw the crucial issues for women being crystallised into key areas of education, job empowerment and creation and reduction in violence.

The 13 top political, business and NGO speakers so enthused delegates that there was a call to not only continue these dialogues on a regular basis but also to form an overarching women’s organisation that can rekindle the fervour and spirit of the women, black and white, that marched together on Pretoria in 1956.

The dialogue sessions in both morning and afternoon enabled participants to choose from significant topics, lead by knowledgeable hosts, and not only debate the issues but produce three concrete suggestions as to how to address these problems. These were displayed on the walls of the venue so that the audience could vote on the most critical solutions.

Jane Raphaely of Associated Magazines, in response to the need to support women-led business, has pledged to produce a directory of women’s companies and called on all women’s organisations to submit their members’ details to her for inclusion.

Speakers included Minister Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education; Premier of Gauteng, Nomvula Mokonyane; Dr. Miriam Altman, Executive Director: Centre for Poverty, Employment and Growth; Phuti Malabie, MD of Shanduka Energy and Claire Reed founder of Reel Gardening recognised internationally for her invention on water saving and planting of vegetable seeds for small gardens.

The dialogue convenors were Wendy Luhabe, social entrepreneur, chair and director of companies and Lynette Finlay, CEO of Finlay & Associates. Vodacom and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, recognising the importance of this dialogue and its benefits, were sponsors. 

“We wanted women to recognise that a few women can change some things, but if we all get involved, we can change everything. This is an ongoing opportunity for all South Africans to impact on the events of the next five years through meaningful dialogue and interventions,” states Luhabe.

The extracts of the proceedings, photos and network opportunities will be posted online at www.womensdialogue.co.za within the next week.

Which issues still need to be addressed in relation to woman's rights? What else can we do to empower our women? Tell us in the box below.