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1 Womens Rights in south Africa

Womens Rights in South Africa


Name:
Talal Alkhanfar
Course:
African 202
Topic:
Womens rights in South Africa
Date:
12/11/13
2 Womens Rights in south Africa
WOMENS RIGTS IN SO!T A"RICA
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Table of Contents
Introduction3
!ights"#ased $ocus on the %rotection of Womens &iberal !ights in South African
Constitution''''3
!acial( Social")conomic and Cultural *istinctions that )+ist bet,een #lack and White
Women in South Africa-
.ender In/ustice as the Sociall0 1#ased !acial &egac0 of A2artheid !egime3
Conclusion''4
!eferences'11
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Womens Rights in South Africa
Introduction
The paper #etermines effects of the gen#er e$ua%it& pro'isions of the South African
Constitution on the %i(era%) socia%) an# economic *e%%+(eing on #isa#'antage# categories of
fema%e popu%ations) especia%%& racia%%&+segregate# an# %o*+income (%ac, *omen popu%ations-
.re'ious stu#ies in South African %a* an# #emocrac&) gen#er stu#ies an# socia% research
#irecte# to scope of the paper to*ar#s the assessment of e$ua% citi/en an# gen#er+(ase# rights of
*omen in emp%o&ment) here#itar&) matrimonia% an# fami%& p%anning spheres of post+aparthei#
South African #emocrac&- Therefore) the positions ta,en in the paper in regar#s to the %a(or)
customar&) an# %itigation %ega%%&+enacte# #ocuments argue that the contra#iction (et*een the
Constitutiona% pro'isions an# esta(%ishe# societa% (arriers com(ine# *ith the income+%imite#
con#itions of *omen impe#e their capa(i%it& to (enefit from the ratifie# constitutiona%
mechanisms #ue to their rights+(ase# rather than racia% an# gen#er focus- Consistent *ith the
empirica% #ata) *hich posit that po%ic&ma,ers) (ureaucratic an# popu%ar support of the gen#er+
(iase# stereot&pes impacte# the increase# num(er of se0ua%%& an# #omestica%%& 'io%ent cases) the
paper suggests that po%itica% representation of gen#er e$ua%it& issues surroun#e# *ith the fisca%%&
restraine# comp%ications shou%# fo%%o* the microeconomic rather than macroeconomic
frame*or,- This frame*or, is (e%ie'e# to pro'i#e (enefits for racia%%&+ an# economica%%&+
#epri'e# c%asses of *omen popu%ation-
!ights"#ased $ocus on the %rotection of Womens &iberal !ights in South African
Constitution
Scho%ars of gen#er e$uit& stu#ies suggest that e'en though the South African Constitution
enacte# in 1223 reshape# pre'ious #iscriminati'e an# harmfu% practices against such
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margina%i/e# groups as *omen) it a%so comp%icate# the meaning of 4%i(era% citi/enship5 for such
economica%%&+#isa#'antage# categories as (%ac, *omen 6ames) 7883: 1919:- In#ee#) e'en in
1298s *hi%e *hite *omen *ere gi'en the right to 'ote) (%ac, *omen *ere force# to confirm
their i#entit& *ith pass(oo,s that the& ha# to carr& *ith on the constant (asis 6A%(ert&n) 7811:-
o*e'er) after 1229 protests of (%ac, *omen against gen#er ine$ua%ities) socia% in;ustice an#
'io%ence) the& *ere gi'en the %ong+a*aite# right to 'ote an# ha# their rights as e$ua% citi/ens re+
esta(%ishe# *ith the m&ria# of re'o%utionar& %a*s that a##resse# *omens human rights 6ames)
7883:- Therefore) se0ua% harassment) materna%) training an# e#ucation issues associate# *ith
*omens emp%o&ment status *ere a##resse# (& the pro'ision of <a(or Act 6122=:) >asic
Con#ition of Emp%o&ment Act) Emp%o&ment E$uit& an# S,i%%s De'e%opment Acts 6ames)
7883:- Other financia% issues of chi%# rearing) *omens rights to (o#i%& integrit& an# free#om of
repro#ucti'e hea%th choices *ere a##resse# (& 4*omen sensiti'e po%icies of >asic Chi%# Support
Grant) the Maintenance Act 6122?:) the Domestic @io%ence Act 6122?:) an# the Choice on the
Termination of .regnanc& Act 61223: 6ames) 7883: 1913:- A%though these %a*s catere# for the
pro'ision of socia% ;ustice an# ha# rights+(ase# approach to*ar#s the gen#er e$ua%it&) the& #i#
not concentrate on the #ominance of the socia%+economic hierarch& of the patriarcha% or#er that
esta(%ishe# tra#itiona% gen#er ro%es an# po*er #&namics imp%ications *ithin race #istinctions)
c%ass an# cu%tura% #ifferences-
Therefore) un#er the Section 98 of the Constitution) constitutiona% mechanisms) %ega%
instruments an# institutiona% structures *ere o(%ige# to a(o%ish #iscrimination against *omen
associate# *ith #istinction) e0c%usion or restriction (ase# on se0 that impe#e their a(i%it& to
access rights) resources an# goo#s 6Mu;u/i) 788?:- o*e'er) these human rights protection %a*s
*ere focuse# on the issues of recognition an# forma% rights rather than on crucia% $uestions of
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re#istri(ution that ha'e a race+(ase# perspecti'e- In this sense) 4%i(era% gen#er para#igm5 e'o,e#
(& these %a*s #i# not inc%u#e customs) customar& an# tra#itiona% practices that prohi(ite# *omen
to inherit) c%aim propert& or o(tain profit from %an# 6ames) 7883: 191A:- It can (e assume# that)
these issues *ere not consi#ere# #uring the enactment of the Constitution an# interpretation of
the >i%% of Rights) gi'en the ,no*%e#ge of the numerous internationa% an# regiona% treaties that
the South African Go'ernment signe# #uring the ratification of %a*s-
In this sense) #omestic %ega% s&stem of South Africa a%though su(missi'e to the re%e'ant
internationa% %a* instruments) sti%% *as su(;ecte# to the cu%tura%+%ega% cha%%enges that un#ermine
the purpose of some %a*fu% pro'isions consistent *ith the reser'ations that *ere ma#e to the
%ega%%&+enacte# #ocuments 6Mu;u/i) 788?:- Therefore) reser'ations to %a(or an# customar& %a*s
*ere state# in the ratifie# 4.rotoco% to the African Charter on uman an# .eop%es Rights on the
Rights of Women in Africa5 6hereinafter .rotoco%: that *as #rafte# to offer more fa'ora(%e
human rights protection possi(i%ities than the Constitution 6Mu;u/i) 788?: BA:- Thereinafter) the
reser'ations ma#e to the #omestic %a(or pro'isions un#er the internationa% %a*s an#
inconsistencies that *ere inherite# *ith the interpretation of the .rotoco% an# Constitution
a%%o*e# e0p%oitati'e an# s%a'er& *or,ing practices) *hich force# these #isa#'antage# *or,ers)
*ho *ere #esperate%& %oo,ing for reasona(%e %i'e%ihoo# to comp%& *ith the set con#itions
6ames) 7883:- In a##ition) the reser'ation that ;ustifies e$ua%it& of the man an# *oman *ithin
the marriage state un#er the customar& %a* #oes not un#ermine the 'a%i#it& of fai%ure to register
the marriage for gir%+chi%#ren un#er the age of eighteen 6Mu;u/i) 788?:- Therefore) such marriage
con#itions are sti%% %ega%%& recogni/e# un#er the #omestic customar& %a*s (ut #o not pro'i#e fu%%
status an# capacit& of e$ua%it& in marriage for *omen un#er the Africans internationa%
o(%igations-
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It fo%%o*s that) a%though .rotoco% an# Constitution impose the o(%igation to out%a* a%%
customs an# %a*s that #iscriminate *omens human rights) the& #o not o'ercome the
contra#ictions that e0ists (et*een %i(era% #iscourse an# %i'e# e0perience of *omen) especia%%&
these of racia%%& margina%i/e# groups- In this sense) the ne*%& ratifie# %a*s pro'i#e# (enefits for
*omen *ithin the rights+(ase# focus (ut #i# not grant the opportunities to rea%i/e them *ithin
the race+(ase# focus-
!acial( Social")conomic and Cultural *istinctions that )+ist bet,een #lack and White
Women in South Africa
It is *e%% un#erstoo# that) socia% ine$ua%it& an# *omen stigmati/ation that e0ist in South
Africa in post+aparthei# era are the pro#ucts of the hierarchica% #omination of the gen#er
recognition) *hich pro'i#es margina%i/e# status to *omen) #enies their %ega% an# practica% access
to rights an# resources) an# p%aces them into the ph&sica% an# ps&cho%ogica% 'u%nera(i%it&
comparing to men- "or (%ac, *omen co%onia% an# segregate# historica% perspecti'es meant that
*hen *hite *omen *ou%# (e re%ease# from the constraints of the #omestic sphere in the conte0t
of the ratifie# human rights) the& *ou%# ha'e to compensate the *hite c%ass in #omestic ser'ices
6A%(ert&n) 7811:- That means that) %i(era% rights of *hite an# (%ac, *omen *ere so%e%& regu%ate#
on paper (ut feasi(%e une$ua% s&stems of %a* an# societa% conte0t p%ace# (%ac, *omen in more
#isa#'antage# position *hen the& ha# no opportunit& to %i'e to their fu%% human potentia%-
"urthermore) the occurrence of %a(or unions an# the >asic Con#itions of Emp%o&ment
Act presuppose the scope of po*ers) authorities an# %e'e% of confi#ence that are unreacha(%e for
economica%%& 'u%nera(%e *omen) especia%%& (%ac, *omen) *ho #o not ha'e access for the ne*%&
ratifie# %a(or %a*s 6ames) 7883:- o*e'er) that #oes not mean that these %a*s are ineffecti'e)
hereinafter) their pro'isions are efficient on%& *hen *omen are forma%%& emp%o&e#) *hich is
WOMENS RIGTS IN SO!T A"RICA
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a%most ne'er happens *ith (%ac, *omen since the& #epen# on the (asic nee#s for emp%o&ment at
an& cost-
"urther cha%%enges of such 4*omen+frien#%& pro'isions5 are concerne# *ith the
prescription of the >asic Chi%# Support Grant) the outcome of *hich is not sufficient in regar#s
to the poor *omens circumstances an# proper age of chi%#ren for the purpose of he%p 6ames)
7883:191?:- "urthermore) the imp%ementation of the Maintenance Act that o(%iges (oth of the
parents financia% engagement in chi%# rearing process #i# not o'ercome gen#er+(iase#
pre#isposition of the s&stem an# create# %ega%%&+(ase# o(stac%e for *omen to access maintenance
pa&outs 6ames) 7883:- Consi#ering that court procee#ings associate# *ith these maintenance
cases foun# that the ma;orit& of the respon#ents *ere men *hi%e their partners reporte# the
occurrence of #omestic 'io%ence) the patriarcha% 'a%ues remain #ominant in a%% of the %ife spheres-
In a##ition) high rates of po'ert& an# #isa(i%ities among margina%i/e# *omen categories
pro'o,e# (& cuts to income support an# socia% ser'ices are %i,e%& to promote *omens ina(i%it&
to %ea'e 'io%ent re%ationships an# continue the reciproca% chain of #omestic 'io%ence-
.ender In/ustice as the Sociall0 1#ased !acial &egac0 of A2artheid !egime
A%though constitutiona% pro'isions an# %egis%ation prescriptions forma%%& un#ermine#
#iscriminator& practices against *omen) the pre'ai%ing societa% norms an# reactionar& forces of
re%igion+(ase# i#eo%ogies present significant (arriers for *omen to rea%i/e their rights in the
po%itica% c%imate that secures these norms an# i#eo%ogies- In this sense) 4the nation+(ui%#ing
'ision program5 ca%%e# the Mora% Recognition Mo'ement that a#'ocates se0ua% a(stinence an#
gir%s chastit& (efore marriage are (e%ie'e# to position *omen as se0ua% su(;ects *hi%e their
se0ua%it& is mar,e# out cu%pa(%e 6ames) 7883:1912:- It fo%%o*s that) the go'ernmenta%
#epartments are e0pecte# to a#here to the percei'e# e0pectations of the program ma,es its
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pro'ision too conser'ati'e an# heteronomous in regar#s to its a#e$uate representation of *omen
societa% ro%es-
Scho%ars suggest that post+aparthei# scenario of po%itica% transformation regar#e#
*omens (o#ies an# se0ua%it& as the capita% of cu%ture an# po%itics) *here(& the court
procee#ings on these cases presente# archaic stereot&pes) rigi# stratification an# a(norma% socia%
ran,ings of *omen in regar#s to their e0perience of #omestic an# rape 'io%ence 6Moffett) 7883:-
"urthermore) stu#ies suggest that Caco( Dumas 788= tria% on rape charges re'erse# the a#'ances
that *omen acti'ist an# progressi'e %a*s ma#e e%e'en &ears prior an# e0emp%ifie# those (arriers
that impe#e# *omens a#'ancement to the %i(era% rights esta(%ishe# in post+aparthei# South
Africa 6ames) 7883:- It can (e argue# that the %anguage of court procee#ings) %ongitu#ina%
nature of the a*ar# of %ega% reme#ies an# a(sence of appropriate ,no*%e#ge of *omen rights
promote these contra#ictions an# impe#e *omens access to the %ega% mechanisms an#
opportunities to e0ercise them-
In this sense) scho%ars suggest that go'ernmenta% spen#ing on the ratification of the
*omen+frien#%& %a*s #i# not an# #oes not a##ress *omens su(or#inate status) in'o,e# (&
narro* conceptions among po%ic&ma,ers) (ureaucratic an# popu%ar perceptions of gen#er ro%es
that remain entang%e# into the con'entiona% racia%+ an# gen#er+(iase# para#igms of South
African post+aparthei# #emocrac& 6assim) 788=:- E'en *ith the reconsi#eration of the Se0ua%
Offences Act an# Gen#er E$ua%it& Act) the inconsistencies (et*een rights+(ase# frame*or, of
the a#opte# Constitution an# ratifie# .rotoco% impe#e# the righteous purpose of the
#emocrati/e# socia% *e%fare 6assim) 788=:- It fo%%o*s that) po'ert&) #iscrimination an# gen#er
ine$ua%it& are po%itica%%& a##resse# in a comprehensi'e manner) *hich prioriti/es fisca% restraints
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o'er une$ua% race an# gen#er re#istri(ution that pro'isions poor *omen to the tra#itiona%%&+
co%onia% su(sistence nee#s an# e0c%u#es them from the fair s&stem of socia% entit%ements-
Therefore) gen#er in;ustice that e0ist in the post+aparthei# po%itica%) socia% an# economic s&stems
of South Africa is (e%ie'e# to (e pro'o,e# (& the o'erarching macroeconomic frame*or, that
impe#es $ua%it& ser'ice #e%i'er&) securit& assistance an# financia% ai# to these margina%i/e#
groups of *omen *ho safer from a(usi'e) economica%%&+restraine# an# harmfu% su(or#ination
e0periences- In this sense) the effecti'eness of the ratifie# constitutiona% pro'isions of *omen
%i(era% rights are achie'e# in the conte0t of socia%%&) economica%%& an# gen#er+#isa#'antage#
con#itions that create (arriers for *omen to rea%i/e their %i(era%) socia% an# economic nee#s-
Conclusion
The paper e0amine# the effects of the %ega%%&+ratifie# South African Constitutiona%
pro'isions of gen#er rights+(ase# concerns on the human rights) socia% an# economic *e%fare of
*omen in the conte0t of esta(%ishe# racia%) socia% an# gen#er stereot&pes that e0ist in the post+
aparthei# #emocratic s&stem of the countr&- The paper supporte# the opinion that the fisca%
restraints prioriti/ation an# accustome# socia% protection #isparities positione# (%ac, *omen to
e0p%oitati'e an# #iscriminati'e societa% ro%es #ue to the gen#er+ an# racia%+(iase# pre#isposition
of *omen+frien#%& %i(era%) customar& an# %a(or %a*s- Therefore) the current paper posite# that
the %e'e%s of #omestic 'io%ence) economic %imitations) an# gen#er ine$ua%it& in the post+aparthei#
South Africa e0ist #ue to the po%itica% assistance of the co%onia% norms an# i#eo%ogies that create#
the (arriers for *omen to (enefit from the ratifie# %a*s- In this sense) the paper suggeste# that
go'ernmenta% efforts to*ar#s the pro'ision of the gen#er e$ua%it& rights shou%# (e focuse# on the
re#istri(ution gen#er an# racia% perspecti'es rather than on the recognition of them in regar#s to
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the e0istent fisca% restraints an# regiona%%&+ an# internationa%%&+#ominant agreements that o(%ige
South African #emocratic s&stem to a##ress these issues-
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