Women are making great strides in society and they're taking up key positions in the economy and communities. Although much has been done in the fight for gender equality, we still have a long way to go.
In celebration of Women’s Month, we look at gender equality and women’s rights 25 years into democracy.
The law and gender equality
Since 1994 discriminatory and oppressive laws have been replaced with more than a 1 000 laws in support of our new found democracy. These laws are based on the values of the constitution and have provisions specifically aimed at addressing gender discrimination affecting:
- human dignity,
- human rights,
- equality and freedoms,
- non-racialism and non-sexism, and
- the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law.
The South African Constitution protects the rights of all people and promotes equal protection, the benefit of the law, and to freedom from unfair discrimination based on gender, sex, pregnancy and marital status.
Our Bill of Rights guarantees access to health care services, sexual and reproductive health and rights, sufficient food and water, and social security and social assistance.
Although we still have a long way to go, our BEEE-rules and the labour laws, among other things, have secured women’s representation in the workplace to a large degree.
In the economy, gender mainstreaming strategies and laws, like the amended Employment Equity Act, are being used to rectify gender disparity.
Public services and social infrastructure that work for women
We offer specialised services aimed to help and promote women in society which makes a significant impact in reducing poverty and inequalities.
- The Masakh’iSizwe Bursary Programme prioritises women, youth, students with disabilities and learners from rural communities when awarding bursaries.
- Women Entrepreneurial Fund (WEF) was established by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to support access to entrepreneurial funds for women business owners.
- Sanitary Dignity Project the Department of Social Development rolled-out an R23 million Sanitary Dignity Project to female learners across the Province.
- Equality courts deal with equality matters.
The Commission for Gender Equality
The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) is committed to promoting respect for gender equality and the protection, development and achievement of gender equality. The CGE promotes and protects gender equality in South Africa through undertaking research, public education, policy development, legislative initiatives, effective monitoring and litigation.
The CGE's functions include:
- Monitoring and evaluating the policies and practices of government, the private sector and other organisations to ensure that they promote and protect gender equality.
- Public education and information and reviewing existing and upcoming legislation from a gender perspective.
- Investigating inequality, commissioning research and making recommendations to Parliament or other authorities.
- Investigating complaints on any gender-related issue and monitoring/reporting on compliance with international conventions.
If you're discriminated against (treated badly) because of your gender you can contact the Commission for Gender Equality.
Physical Address: 5th Floor ABSA Building, 132 Adderley Street, Cape Town, 8001
Tel: 021 426 4080/3
Fax: 021 424 0549
You can also lodge a complaint online.