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Women Must Fight to be Heard- Bannister
Source: Bua News
Source Date: Sunday, August 08, 2010
Focus: Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Country: South Africa
Created: Aug 10, 2010

Bannister was part of a panel that addressed delegates' concerns at the Women Empowerment Conference in Durban.


Bannister played an integral role in planning the city’s major revamp for the football tournament and future.


“This was a joint effort. We needed to understand from the beginning that the World Cup needed our immediate attention but the building of the country was a long-term goal,” said Bannister.


Bannister told the audience that tough decisions were made all round.


“In some instances, we had to spend more money. Instead of revamping an old stadium, it was more feasible to build a new one that will be around in 20 years time. It’s was a case of replacing the engine in an old car or investing in a new one,” she said.


She said the World Cup experience was one of her biggest learning curves, one that had lots of arguments but it’s important for women to learn how not to settle.


“Working in government can be challenging, it is sometimes male dominated. When I go into a meeting sometimes, people assume I am the secretary. You just have to learn to laugh through the situations. But it’s important, to fight when you have to. Make your point and sometimes, more than once,” said Bannister.


In environments where there are still traditional ways of doing things that are not always efficient, Bannister advised women to keep the new ideas coming in.


“Try to convince people that there are other ways of doing things but see things from other people’s point of views too”.


Most women at the conference are mothers and they feel they do not always get the balancing act right.


Bannister, a mother of three young children, said women have to realise they cannot do everything and that is okay. Also, having a good sense of humour can hold you in good stead.


Shamila Pather, a lawyer specialising in family law, urged women to become more familiar with South African laws that seek to protect business interests.


Pather said women should invest in lawyers that are reputable and will help them with drawing up contracts to ensure they are rewarded for their hard work.


Drawing from her personal experience of hardship, she told women they must not be afraid to work hard and start from the bottom.


A woman that knows all about hardship is Lindiwe Khuzwayo. The well-know fashion designer and owner of an Academy of Fashion Design said her life has been filled with one challenge after another.

But that hasn’t stopped her from achieving success. Her message for women is to always have self belief. –BuaNews


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