Pretoria – South Africans will join the rest of the world in marking International Women's Day by joining others in Delhi, Rio de Janeiro and New York in "ringing the bell" at noon.
Ring the Bell is a global initiative which was originally launched in India. It encourages individuals and organisations, both public and private, to take concrete action to end violence against women.
From today until to 8 March 2014, the Ring the Bell initiative aims to gather one million concrete actions from men to show their commitment to building a safer world for women and girls.
In South Africa, the Sonke Gender Justice Network will lead a march through the streets of Cape Town and Johannesburg to ring the bell.
The marches will be joined by the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum, the South African Faith and Family Institute, Central Methodist Church, Scalabrini Centre, Triangle Project and Inner Circle, amongst others.
"Men can and must take concrete action to change the conditions that fuel violence against women. This means speaking out when they see or hear violence in their homes, on the streets, in taxis and in the workplace," said Patrick Godana from Sonke.
People will "ring the bell" to remember those women who have not survived gender-based violence, break the silence around violence against women, call on men to take concrete actions to stop violence, call on government to launch an emergency R1 billion fund to ensure adequate services for survivors of violence and for a national violence prevention campaign.
Nyanda ka-Khanyile, also from Sonke, said by ringing the bell, "we actively show our individual and collective determination to halt violence against women in our homes, our communities, our places of worship – everywhere".
According to the organisers, actions that can be taken by men include teaching children that good men respect women; walk the talk by challenging those who disrespect women or girls, friends, family, colleagues and anybody; interrupting violence by ringing the doorbell when you see/hear domestic violence; insisting on a harassment-free environment at your workplace; respecting women at home and in public spaces and speaking out in support of equality for women on social networks.
This also includes donating money, skills or other assets to those working for women's equality and safety, educating yourself about the impact of violence against women and girls, lobbying political and business leaders to address violence against women and promote gender equality and standing by women who speak out about their experience of violence.