While there’s still a lot of work to be done to ensure that women enjoy their full socio-economic rights, South Africa has made small but significant gains with regards to advancing women and their rights.
Here are 5 ways SA is doing well on gender equality issues
Gender balanced cabinet
For the first time ever, as of this year, South Africa has cabinet made up of 50% women, joining a small number of countries such as Sweden, Canada, Spain, Ethiopia and the Seychelles.
Discrimination on the basis of gender is unlawful
South Africa’s much celebrated constitution enshrines the right to not be directly or indirectly discriminated against on the basis of gender, sexuality, or pregnancy under the Equality Act.
Mandatory maternity leave
While maternity leave does not have to be paid, women in SA are entitled to four months maternity leave including leave as result of a termination of pregnancy, stillbirth or miscarriage.
No vat on sanitary pads
After years of lobby work by various organisations, last year National Treasury announced that Value Added Tax would be scrapped on sanitary wear. This came into effect in April this year and is step forward in improving access to sanitation especially for young girls.
National coordinated plan on gender based violence
Following the nationwide protests by women in August last year and a demand that the state urgently deal with the terrifying reality of gender based violence (GBV) in South Africa, a national coordinated plan which will drive all the various efforts to deal with GBV is being drafted and should be ready by end of 2019.