Gender Equality in South Africa Today
We’ve come a long way in the last 100 years in pursuing equality for the female gender in South Africa. This is an issue which reached its greatest epicentre in 1956, when 20 000 women marched together, despite their differences in race and culture, during the Apartheid era.
Over 60 years later, South Africa is working hard to address the inequalities our pre-1950s generations faced. Today, women comprise 51% of the South African population and are no longer viewed as the “weaker sex”. So, what is our country doing about bridging the sex gap, and supporting the development of the compassionate and nurturing half of the population?
The list of Acts and Bills that have been passed to solve our country’s gender inequality issues in the last two decades isn’t short. Every few years, the government reassesses what can be done to assist women with regards to education, healthcare, and skills development – ultimately leading them into management roles or positions of power.
This might take you by surprise, but South Africa ranks 19th out of the 144 countries that are covered in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report for 2017. This means that South Africa has undergone a more positive gender-empowerment transformation than many developed nations – including Switzerland, the Netherlands, and even the US!
South Africa has closed 68% of the gender gap, whereas Iceland is in first position with 80% (albeit with a considerably smaller population). The Index gives the ability to track and consistently measure a country’s progress over time, so we’re getting there, aren’t we? Another great win for our rainbow nation is that South Africa holds the 10th position in the world for the most number of females in parliament.
For those who are still pessimistic about where we stand on gender equality, let’s consider that on the whole, our country has more female graduate than male, with a huge variety of resources at the disposal of women with entrepreneurial ambitions. Thanks to government and private funding, South Africa is one of the best places in the world for women to receive the business support they may need to be successful.
Beyond that, contemporary South African women have a tenacious desire to succeed. We might only be at 68% of bridging the gender gap, but the women of South Africa are fearless and inventive – imagine the impact our country could make when we reach 100%?
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