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Citation Information

Type Journal Article
Title The South African Board for People Practices (SABPP) Women’s Report 2013
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL http://ujdigispace.uj.ac.za/bitstream/handle/10210/8587/SABPP_Womens_Report_2013_web.pdf?sequence=1
Abstract
Although the consistent public image of political
power and executive authority in South Africa has
historically been dominated by men1
, women have
never been absent from South Africa’s political sphere2
.
Presently, a South African woman, Dr. Nkosasana
Dlamini-Zuma, represents the first woman to lead the
African Union, and the collective force of South Africa’s
political opposition namely, Mamphela Ramphele,
Lindiwe Mazibuko, Patricia De Lille, and Helen Zille, is
distinctly female.
It can be argued that South African
women have never been as visibly
present in the formal political arena
in as high a number as they presently
constitute, or held the high-profile
political leadership roles that they
presently occupy.
Women are therefore seemingly favourably placed to
articulate a collective politics of feminist leadership
within the country, if one assumes that a positive
relationship exists between increasing the number
of women in formal politics and improvements in the
frequency and quality of policy and legislation passed in
favour of women3
.
For decades, women globally have widely advocated
and campaigned for the increased presence of women
in political leadership, arguing the inability of men to
respond to needs of ordinary women4
. At one point in
post-apartheid South Africa, women felt strongly that
their needs as women would be better served if more
women were active in political leadership5
. Puzzling,
therefore, is the gender anomaly and cruel contradiction
that post-apartheid South Africa has come to represent
for ordinary women.
South Africa is a highly gender-unequal society that
presents harsh realities for women. Ironically, alongside
the spectacular achievements of women in South
African politics, with a 42.7% representation in formal
political leadership, we have the current reality of the
status of women in this country — HIV infection rates
among women and rates of gender-based violence that
can only be described as dismal6
. In 2012, South Africa
was officially labelled “the rape capital of the world”
by Interpol7
. Incredibly high levels of violence against
women and children currently co-exist with high socioeconomic
inequality in a country where women bear the
overwhelming burden of unemployment8
.

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