South Africa UNIFEM

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WOMEN’S STRUGGLE IN SOUTH AFRICA: POST APARTHEID REVIEW: 

WOMEN’S STRUGGLE IN SOUTH AFRICA: POST APARTHEID REVIEW

INTRODUCTION: 

INTRODUCTION Gender empowerment and equality is imperative to South Africa’s democracy. Vision not only for SA government but the continent of Africa as well as the world at large. Women empowerment is one of the Millennium Development Goals.

INTRODUCTION: 

INTRODUCTION “Freedom cannot be achieved unless the women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression. All of us take this on board that the objectives of the Reconstruction and Development Programme will not have been realized unless we see in visible practical terms that the conditions of women in our country have radically changed for the better, and that they have been empowered to intervene in all aspects of life as equals with any other member of society. “ (President Mandela: 1994)

ROLE OF WOMEN: 

ROLE OF WOMEN The issue of gender equality and emancipation of women from all forms of oppression is central to South Africa’s agenda for a better life for all. SA government is committed to a meaningful role that women should play as beneficiaries of the fruits of the world that is redefining itself. The role of women currently is one of the most important topics discussed at various multilateral fora including the United Nations.

ROLE OF WOMEN (CONT): 

ROLE OF WOMEN (CONT) Any process which, consciously or unconsciously undermines the full emancipation of women is fundamentally hostile to our objective of building a South Africa that is democratic, non-racial and non-sexist and which truly belongs to all the people. It is not possible to realise our full economic potential while we continue to marginalise women who constitute the majority of our people. (Pres Mbeki, 2005)

SOUTH AFRICA: HISTORY OF STRUGGLE OF WOMEN: 

SOUTH AFRICA: HISTORY OF STRUGGLE OF WOMEN South Africa comes from a very painful past which oppressed the majority of our people - in particular women. Laws and Policies were deliberately put in place to undermine and oppress the majority of SA population.

SOUTH AFRICA: HISTORY OF STRUGGLE OF WOMEN (CONT): 

SOUTH AFRICA: HISTORY OF STRUGGLE OF WOMEN (CONT) These policies led to forced removals of African people from their homes and in breaking down and paralysing family units. This, created conditions that were more harsh especially on African women as they were exploited on the basis that they were black, women and workers. This, we often refer to as triple oppression of race, gender and class. Women of other races in South Africa including whites were also regarded as inferior to men due to the fact that they were women and were seen as minors and /or dependants.

SA HISTORY (CONT): 

SA HISTORY (CONT) In the 50’s women decided to fight against all the injustices that were imposed on them and became the major source of resistance. A historic march was mobilised in 1956 where more than 20,000 women marched to protest against the imposition of pass laws while demanding the fundamental rights of justice, equality and freedom.

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY: 

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY The repealing of Apartheid policy in 1994 together with other discriminatory laws, marked the beginning of a new era. Following this was the adoption of South Africa’s constitution in 1996. This Constitution is said to be one of the most progressive as well as most gender aware constitutions in the world.

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT): 

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT) Following the historic Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, and following a lot of consultations with the South African Women bodies, the government adopted the Platform for Action in 1996. The point of departure for this action was for Government departments to identify tangible actions to be employed to assist the process of achieving gender equality and advancement of women socially and economically.

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT): 

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT) The Office on the Status of Women (OSW) was established in the Presidency. In 7 of 9 provinces similar offices were set up.

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT): 

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT) In 1997 the National Commission on Gender equality was formed to address and promote gender empowerment and equity. This commission ensures that government and other non-statutory bodies adhere to their commitment to gender equality.

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT): 

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT) Joint Monitoring Committee for Quality of Life and Status of Women focuses on the quality of life and status of women in particular where legislation is concerned. This body is located in the Parliament of SA. The Human Rights Commission plays an important role in the protection of the rights of women.

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT): 

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT) Various laws which ensure the rights of women are protected were also passed by Parliament . These are: Employment Equity Act (1998), Basic Conditions of Employment Act (1997), Domestic Violence Act (1998), Maintenance Act (1998), Promotion of Equality Prevention of unfair Discrimination Act (2000)

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT): 

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT) The Expanded Public works programme was launched in 2004 to fight poverty in South Africa. One of its key objectives is the empowerment of women in particular women in the rural areas. It also ensures recognition and participation of women in non female traditional roles e.g. entrepreneurship, construction and so on. Through programmes like these together with the National skills Initiative headed by the Department of labour, government is seeking to improve the lives of women.

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT): 

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT) The following Ministries are headed by women: Foreign Affairs, Public Works, Agriculture, Housing, Minerals and Energy, Communications, Water Affairs, Education, and Home Affairs.

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT): 

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT) The Deputy President of SA, HE Pumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is also a woman. Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Parliament are women. Various SA missions are headed by female Ambassadors. 40% of the Provincial Premiers are women.

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT): 

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT) Organisations like Women Build Initiative (WBI) which are a partnership between government and civil society were borne of consultations. WBI was formed to raise consciousness about the construction sector, women’s role and to provide training and experience for women, amongst other things. (Women Build Initiative, 2007)

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT): 

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT) 75% of businesses in South Africa employ women in senior management positions. 26% of total senior management posts in South Africa are filled by women, beating the global average by 7%.

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT): 

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT) South African government launched the Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative of South (ASGISA) in 2004: To empower women through human resource training. To enable adequate access to finance and financial institutions. To fast track them out of the second economy. To ensure significant participation in agriculture and creative industries. To improve access to basic services. To increase participation in expanded public works programme.

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT): 

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT) Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA) was launched to identify urgent skills needed and to identify training needs.

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT): 

POST 1994 DEVELOPMENTS: DAWN OF THE ERA OF DEMOCRACY (CONT) In 2006 South Africa hosted the 4th Congress on Rural Women which emphasised the need for rural women in the world to flourish out of poverty and participate in the mainstream economy.

CONCLUSION: 

CONCLUSION “This empowerment must mean that the ordinary women in the rural areas should be freed from the daily arduous and back-breaking tasks. This emancipation must mean that we make the necessary progress to arm women with education, with skills and information so that they can participate meaningfully in the economic and social development opportunities that are available in our country.” (Pres Mbeki, 2005) Thank you.

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