Gender in South Africa

Topics: South Africa, Africa, African Union Pages: 17 (4971 words) Published: May 29, 2013
Apartheid imposed strict restrictions that hindered the wellbeing of South African women. Black women were often left for domestic occupations in white neighborhoods or resort to low wage earning jobs at industrial plants. Various movements such as the Women’s League of the African National Congress (ANC) rose in order to protest against apartheid restrictions and discriminatory legislation in the 1950s. When South Africa’s authoritative regime was approaching its end in the 1990s, the ANC proposed new legislation that a third of political appointments would be allotted to women. Unfortunately, twenty years later, African women are still faced with the same marginal disparities in accessing education, employment, and health care despite South Africa’s progressive strides into civil society. This study examines the development of South African women in the nation’s new “democratic” era.

The Problem and Its Setting
Statement of Problem
Research Questions
Review of Literature
Significance of the Study
Research Limitations

Statement of the Problem
This research examines political, economic, and cultural impact of South African women’s movements. The study will explore the following questions: (1) Is the South African Parliament truly gender-sensitive in its transition to a fully-fledged democracy?; (2) Where are women in the formal and informal economy relative to men?; (3) Which cultural impediments hinder the South Africa’s transition to civil society?

1.Is the South African Parliament truly gender-sensitive in its conversion to a fully-fledged democracy? This question analyzes the political structure of the country on party and policy boundaries. -Are interests of the African National Congress aligned with the interests of women’s movements? -Has the implementation of national gender machineries served its role in the bureaucratic system? -Does gender-sensitive legislation have any strong precedent in the political reformation of South Africa?

2.Where are women in the formal and informal economy relative to men? This question analyzes the economic effect of gender divided society. -What kinds of national policies/strategies are in place to address poverty? -Which disparities exist for the access of health care and education on racial, ethnic, and gender lines?

3.Which cultural impediments hinder the South Africa’s transition to civil society? This question analyzes the socio-cultural implications of a society in full transition from one system to another. -Has the transition into democracy played a role in the perception of women?

Affirmative Action is defined as a compilation of policies to assist an underrepresented group in education and employment in order to counteract the effects of discrimination. In South Africa, this was demonstrated through the Employment Equity Act of 1998. African Feminism is defined as a feminist movement uprising from racist and sexist ideologies. African feminism is seen by some historians a branch of African nationalism. Democracy is defined as a form of government where all citizens of a nation collectively participate to determine the policies, laws, and actions of their state in which there is an equal opportunity to exercise their opinion. Democratization is defined as a nation’s transition from an authoritarian regime to a democracy; democratization is influenced by a variety of factors, including economic development, transparency of government, the electorate, freedom of the press, civil society, access to education and health care, and gender equality. Depatriarchalization is defined as the process of dismantling patriarchal structures in...

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